Describes how widely e-Commerce is used, the primary sectors that sell through e-commerce, and how much product/service in each sector is sold through e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar retail. Includes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and , reputable, prominent B2B websites.
Last Published: 7/24/2017

Overview

Kuwait has over three million Internet users. However, e-commerce remains predominately limited to on-line banking and financial brokerage services. As it stands today, most Kuwaiti companies do not conduct on-line business-to-business or business-to-consumer transactions.
The Kuwait Government’s e-Government website offers basic services for both individuals and businesses. An electronic signature law, based on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) laws on electronic commerce, has been approved, and e-signatures are being used by some government offices.
 
In spite of being a huge market and home to many shoppers, the Middle East market hasn’t made a big headway when it comes to E-Commerce. In a region where mall culture is so prevalent and the experience customers received from e-commerce players in the past was not on par with global standards, there is still a lack of trust in online shopping as a whole compared to Europe and the United States.
 
Several obstacles are preventing e-commerce from reaching its full potential. Consumer awareness about e-commerce is low with only 50 percent of internet users being aware of e-commerce platforms. Shoppers also have difficulties in assessing the quality of products and ease in returning goods. Savvier customers prefer international online platforms, which offer more choices and easier shopping.
2/3 of the population in Kuwait are expatriates. The high income earning Kuwaitis and wealthiest of the expats are the primary users of e-commerce. Local delivery services are encouraging e-commerce and launching new products to attract customers. For example, DHL has recently launched the EasyShop service and is providing a 50% discount for clearance and customs fees on the first shipment.
 
The top countries from which Kuwait makes online purchases are the United States and the United Kingdom. The most popular e-commerce sites the consumers are using are: Amazon (US and UK), Net-A-Porter, department stores such as Bloomingdale, Nordstrom Rack and others.
 
Most banking transactions are on the internet. Paying bills online is the most common activity and the most used payments methods are Visa, Mastercard and American Express.

Social Media

The use of social networks is high in Kuwait across all ages – even among older people. People use social networks for a mix of social and informational purposes. Among informational activities, receiving news and information ranks highest, closely followed by exploring various links on social networks to get users to external web pages.
 
Kuwaitis and Arab expats use social networks similarly. As for the social platforms, WhatsApp is commonly used across all nationalities, while Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are popular among Kuwaitis, and Facebook is popular among expats.
 
For launching, promoting or advertising a product or a service Instagram and Snapchat are the best platforms to reach the Kuwaiti population. This is because target audiences can easily be reached.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Kuwait eCommerce Industry Trade Development and Promotion eCommerce