E-commerce in Middle East to reach USD 4.9 billion in 2015

Dubai: The rapidly evolving e-commerce in the Middle East has grown tremendously over the last decade and its value is expected to reach USD 4.9 billion this year.

UAE is leading the e-commerce sales growth of the total GCC market and consumer electronics is the largest product category.

The fast conversion of people buying in-store to e-store is something to watch out in near future, said Ulugbek Yuldashev, CEO of UAE-based online retail specialist Awok.Com.

In May 2013, Go-Gulf designed an infographic estimating that the value of e-commerce in the Middle East in 2015 would reach USD 4.9 billion, he said.

“With everything available at your fingertips, one sees lots of retailers and businesses coming up with their personalised mobile apps and enhancing their mobile sites to provide optimum user experience,” he said.

He said that unreliable delivery is one major issue, which e-commerce companies are working on tirelessly.

“We can expect significant investment from e-businesses building up their own supply chain networks. This is an expensive bet, but one that will surely pay off,” he said.

“The electricity bill, maintenance staff, and salesmen alone all involve a significant financial commitment. In comparison, a dedicated group of online assistants are enough to run an online website for several places at once.

“And even where it’s convenient, it’s likely that e-commerce will change how people buy, transforming shops to places reserved for product demos,” he said.

According to him, one issue that all e-commerce set-ups face is fear from users on loss of control.

Setting up call centres and customer support desks are the perfect solution for this, he said.