E-commerce registered continued double-digit current value growth in 2021, albeit at a slower rate than the astronomical increase seen in 2020. Despite the end of lockdowns, many consumers continued to hold onto their online shopping habits.
Many traditional direct-to-consumer (D2C) companies, such as online eyewear company Eyewa, have opened bricks-and-mortar stores. Furthermore, many are now advertising on marketplaces such as Amazon and Noon because they know consumers trust them, and it brings brand awareness and customer acquisition.
2021 saw the launch of Subscribe and Save in the United Arab Emirates, providing additional convenience for customers, who set the quantity and delivery schedule for essentials and pre-order via subscription without incurring additional fees. According to the Consumer Lifestyles report 2021, convenience is the biggest driver of uptake of subscription services.
Purchasing habits are shifting online, and this was reflected in the 2021 growth data for e-commerce. The forecast period is expected to yield sustained growth in e-commerce sales, significantly outpacing the growth forecast for store-based retailers.
The United Arab Emirates has one of the highest international brand footprints in the world, which is what makes it such an appealing shopping destination for travellers. However, many retailers lack digital rights.
Online luxury retailer and marketplace Farfetch teamed up with The Luxury Closet and launched a designer handbag resale service in the Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Via its Second Life platform, customers can trade in their pre-loved bags in exchange for credit that can be used for any purchase on the site.
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Sales of consumer goods to the general public via the Internet. Please note that this includes sales through mobile phones and tablets (i.e. m-commerce). E-commerce includes sales generated through pure e-commerce websites and through sites operated by store-based retailers. Sales data is attributed to the country where the consumer is based, rather than where the retailer is based. The definition of e-commerce is agnostic as to where actual payment takes place; if an order is initiated online, it is considered to be an e-commerce transaction, even if the order is ultimately paid for in-store (or elsewhere). As a result, all ‘click-and-collect’ and ‘collect-at-store’ transactions are counted as e-commerce sales. E-commerce excludes sales of: (a) Consumer-to-consumer (C2C) and business-to-business (B2B) sales, although please note that sales between businesses and consumers (i.e. B2C sales) on sites such as eBay are included; (b) Sales of motor vehicles, motorcycles and vehicle parts; (c) Tickets for events (sports, music concerts, etc.) and travel; (d) Sales of travel and holiday packages; (e) Revenue generated by online gambling sites; (f) Returned products/unpaid invoices; and (h) Internet sales from direct selling companies, as these are tracked in Direct Selling market size/shares. Example e-commerce brands include Amazon.com, Zappos.com, Apple.com, iTunes, Rakuten, Tesco.com, Dell.com, Coles Online, etc. 3rd Party Merchant sales through online marketplaces, such as Amazon.com, eBay.com and Walmart.com, are included and split out in shares. 3rd party merchants are the summation of sales that come from businesses that are present on an online marketplace (e.g. Amazon, Alibaba). Marketplaces are websites that allow multiple merchants to sell on the marketplace website, with the marketplace operator processing the transactions, but many marketplaces provide offer other services as to help with shipping, handling, payment, and product storage. The marketplace is not the merchant of record legally, but for the sake of shares, sales from 3rd part merchants are attributed to the marketplace brand operator.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our E-Commerce (Goods) research and analysis database.
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