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: 8/11/2016

The e-commerce market in the U.A.E. is currently valued at $2.5 billion, and is expected to reach $10 billion by 2018.  E-commerce is expected to accelerate and become the U.A.E.’s fastest-growing sales channel thanks to the country’s increased connectivity, rapid proliferation of connected devices and services, and U.A.E. government initiatives encouraging a digital lifestyle.
 
Currently, business-to-consumer (B2C) commerce accounts for less than 1 percent of total retail sales in the region.  Obstacles to increased B2C commerce include: low adoption of online retail channels by local businesses, the predominance of cash on delivery payments, and low consumer acceptance of online shopping compared to international benchmarks.  The U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, and Qatar together account for around half of all e-commerce sales in the region.  The product categories that produce the most revenue in online sales in the region are consumer electronics, computers, and jewelry (including watches).  Online shopping for clothing also has begun to gain in popularity.  Mobile commerce has a high potential in the Middle East, as smartphone and tablet penetration is high, and mobile is often the most common mode of connection to the internet in the region.  The most important factors for online shoppers in the U.A.E. were price, customer service, and ease of use.  Security concerns and inability to touch and test products before purchase keep some consumers away from online purchasing.
 
It is noteworthy that the growth in e-commerce is not solely driven by the private sector.  An important factor in building trust in online commerce over the last few years has come from e-government initiatives.  Across the region, we see the integration of traditional offline services such as visa services, traffic services, and utilities services onto online platforms integrated with online payments to provide citizens and residents faster and more effective public services.

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.



United Arab Emirates eCommerce Industry Trade Development and Promotion eCommerce