Saudi internet economy worth $9.8bn in 2010
Boston Consulting Group predicts Saudi internet economy to be worth $28.5bn by 2016
Saudi Arabia's internet economy was worth SAR 37 billion ($9.8bn) in 2010, according to a report from the Boston Consulting Group.
The internet economy accounted for 2.2% of Saudi's GDP, which would rank the Kingdom 13th among the G-20.
BCG predicts that Saudi's internet economy will account for 3.8% of GDP by 2016, or SAR 107 billion ($28.5bn).
The report, part of BCG's Connected World series measures total spending on finished goods and services. It covers four key elements: consumption (both goods sold online and the costs of getting online), investment, government spending, and net exports.
"The Internet offers one of the world's unfettered growth stories," said Joerg Hildebrandt, partner and managing director at BCG Middle East. "A robust Internet economy is an essential underpinning for Saudi Arabia's future, providing both economic and social benefits."
Online retail in Saudi Arabia was 2.9% of total retail, worth $3 billion, which is predicted to rise to $15 billion, or 8% of total retail, by 2016. Researching online and purchasing offline ('ROPO'), where consumer's decisions are influenced by their online research, accounted for an additional 4.7% of total retail in 2010.
Hildebrandt said: "This represents a dramatic increase and to put it into perspective, it would place Saudi Arabia at 5th position amongst the G-20 countries, following only UK, Germany, Australia and South Korea."