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Online shopping boom in Saudi

Analyst report says $3.28 billion spent by Saudi online shoppers in 2007

Arab Advisors Group reports that $3.28 billion was spent by online consumers in Saudi Arabia last year. According to a new report from the analyst group, around 3.5 million Internet users, 48% of the total Internet user base in the Kingdom, purchased products and services online in 2007.

The analyst group surveyed 1,900 web users in the Kingdom on internet usage and online habits.

Credit cards were used for 42.2% of online purchases, with Internet shopping cards provided by banks accounting for another 11.5% of purchases.

Jawad Abbassi, founder and general manager of Arab Advisors Group said: "Saudi Arabia's large population, its booming economy and increased Internet adoption, provide an ideal context for a thriving e-commerce scene. Our major survey of Internet users in Saudi Arabia revealed a massive size for B2C e-commerce in the country which presents opportunities for global and regional e-commerce players to tap into this growing market."

The majority of users have Internet access from work (46.4%) while 36.6% rely on Internet Cafes and 34.3% use WiFi hotspots. A further 23.7% only use the Internet from home.

The survey, which was carried out online, also revealed that local Arabic-focused email providers account for less than 10% of email users, with the vast majority preferring to use international services such as Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo!

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