100 million new digital users are expected in MENA over the next five years.
The region’s digital economy is expected to be valued at $500 billion by 2030.
Tradeling, the largest business-to-business (B2B) marketplace in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), cites that the pandemic-induced trend of digital adoption across several industries is set to continue with a relatively young and technologically inclined population driving this projection. The region’s median age of 26 for its younger population is reported to be significantly lower than the global average, and this is forecasted to boost e-commerce spending by 15% in 2023 when compared to the previous year.
Out of necessity, increased worldwide digital adoption was witnessed at the onset of the pandemic. Despite the World Health Organization (WHO) declassifying COVID-19 as a global emergency, MENA is projected to maintain its upward trajectory by adding approximately 100 million new digital service users over the next five years. This progress is predicted to see as many as 125 million new digital users by 2030 while boosting the region’s digital economy from its $100 billion value in 2022 to an eye-popping $500 billion by the end of the decade.
Hyper growth in MENA’s digital economy is expected to continue for the foreseeable future with hyper growth expected in the GCC. Furthermore, the UAE’s e-commerce sector is poised to make major contributions via its high internet penetration rate of more than 90%, a growing smartphone user base, and an increasing demand for online shopping; consumers have grown to prefer such convenience over traditional brick-and-mortar stores since the outbreak of COVID. Favourable government policies are also supporting the country’s e-commerce rise.
The UAE government has implemented several initiatives to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the country’s e-commerce space while also developing frameworks which protect consumers and businesses; this includes regulating payment systems and establishing dispute resolution mechanisms among other efforts. As a result, MENA’s digital economy is rapidly gaining ground on emerging markets like Indonesia and India which are respectively valued at around $70 billion and $135 billion.
Marius Ciavola, CEO of Tradeling, commented: “E-commerce in the Middle East, and the region’s digital economy as a whole, are well-positioned to lead the world in the coming years with the UAE at the forefront. A strategic location, diverse economy, and innovative infrastructure have seen e-commerce popularity surge in the country in recent years and there appears to be no slowdown in sight. As a younger, tech-savvy demographic continues being nurtured through proactive efforts of the UAE’s wise leadership and a willingness to embrace new technologies and digital solutions, the industry’s future is promising.”
As MENA’s dominant B2B marketplace, Tradeling is shaping the future of e-commerce in the UAE. The company has grown rapidly since its inception three years ago with a wide selection of more than 1.7 million unique products across 14 categories and more than 200,000 registered buyers and sellers from 55 countries. Partnerships with local entities such as Wio Bank and Food Tech Valley, as well as global ones like Mastercard, are further solidifying Tradeling’s presence while simultaneously helping to prop up the country’s economy.