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UAE leads in e-commerce poll

Value of e-commerce exceeds $4.87 billion in UAE, KSA, Kuwait and Lebanon, according to Arab Advisors Group

The value of business-to-consumer e-commerce exceeded $4.87 billion in Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the UAE in 2007, according to a recent report from Arab Advisors Group.

The analysis, which was based on face-to-face surveys in Kuwait and Lebanon, and online surveys in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, found that more than 5.1 million people in the four countries engaged in some form of e-commerce in 2007.

In terms of e-commerce penetration rates, the UAE beat its nearest rival, Saudi Arabia, by more than 10%, according to the analysis. The UAE also had the highest average amount spent on e-commerce per capita during 2007.

"The UAE's e-commerce user penetration was the highest among the countries studied," said Andrawes Snobar, senior research analyst at Arab Advisers Group. "The UAE's e-commerce users' penetration stood at 25.1%, Saudi Arabia 14.3%, and Kuwait followed 10.7%, while Lebanon had the lowest penetration of e-commerce users with 1.6% of the total population."

But while Lebanon had the lowest e-commerce expenditure per capita due to a low penetration of e-commerce users in the country, it registered the highest e-commerce expenditure per e-commerce users. According to Arab Advisers Group, e-commerce users in Lebanon are in the "pioneer" or "early adopter" category, and tend to be wealthier and better educated than the rest of the population, which translated into higher spending per user.