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Visa says UAE has largest share of e-commerce

New report by Visa, IMRG shows country with 55% to 60% of GCC e-commerce market

Visa says UAE has largest share of e-commerce
A new study conducted by Visa and Interactive Media in Retail Group International (IMRG) has found that the UAE has the largest share of the e-commerce market in the GCC.

A newly launched quarterly overview of the e-commerce market in the GCC, conducted by Visa, in partnership with Interactive Media in Retail Group International (IMRG) - the industry body for global e-Retail - has revealed that the UAE has the lion's share of GCC e-commerce transactions.

"E-Commerce is without doubt one of the crucial drivers for the world economy, and increasingly the region's [economy]. With such a significant increase in internet usage, it's no surprise that the internet is quickly becoming the cornerstone for business and communication, especially as the UAE is such an important financial hub," said Kamran Siddiqi, general manager for Visa Middle East. "However, there's still some way to go if e-Commerce in the Emirates and the wider region is to meet its full potential."

The first report has shown that the total B2C (business to consumer) e-Commerce sales in the UAE have grown to approximately $2 billion in 2010, which adds up to approximately 55% to 60% of the total GCC e-Commerce sales.

Total GCC sales are estimated to be between $3bn and $3.5bn, and are expected to reach $5bn by the end of 2011.

Saudi Arabia has the second largest e-commerce market in the GCC with an estimated $520m, followed by Qatar ($375m), Kuwait ($280m), Bahrain ($175m) and Oman ($70m).

"Online shopping is still in its infancy in the region but all the signs are there that it will continue to grow, such as government commitment, retailer investment and -most importantly - a young population open to trying new technologies and innovations. However, we're still faced with the same barriers here that we see around the world, with lack of trust and payment security regularly being cited as key concerns for people when choosing whether to shop online. As one of the world's largest retail electronic payments networks, Visa supports the e-Commerce industry in the UAE by providing payment systems which are trusted across the globe, helping to drive growth by giving Visa cardholders reassurance and confidence when purchasing online," said Stephen Leeds, e-commerce business leader for Visa Middle East.

The study is designed to identify current levels of e-commerce performance and potential through the assessment of the breadth of existing research undertaken in the region. The study covers trends, data and forecasts concerning e-Commerce in the GCC as part of a world-class comparison with key markets.

According to Visa, the UAE government is leading the way for e-Commerce in the country with the Telecommunications Authority designated to create an effective e-Commerce environment.

In Dubai, the e-Pay gateway has enabled customers to pay for e-government services online in a secure environment.

"It's clear that there is huge potential for e-Commerce to grow further and it is therefore vital that more becomes known about all aspects of online shopping in terms of data, impact of the internet economy, consumer behaviour and attitude in order to demonstrate the business opportunities for international investors but also initiatives to set up domestic sites. This will not only increase the available offer but will at the same time inspire trust and confidence among consumers," said Aad Weening, head of International and Research at IMRG International.

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