Last year e-commerce was seen as one of the most growing sectors globally. Reports from Middle East and North Africa region indicated that the sector has grown outrageously within the past three years. According to a study by MasterCard, the overall online shopping trends in UAE alone has been very high with about 83% of UAE locals shopping online prior to their study. In Africa, our report from last year indicated a growing number of online shops, and e-commerce platforms coupled with advanced technologies which provides more credibility and eliminates doubt on quality – as quality, and delivery were identified as some of the major reasons online shopping trends were on the low.
In Egypt, there is an increasing interest of the population to buy items online. However, increased internet penetration and credit card access are the two main factors that could help online-shopping in Egypt grow significantly over the next few years. Financial services including credit cards are becoming increasingly available, especially among the socio-economic groups that have enough income to afford non-essential goods and services. However, cash-on-delivery and cash trade is still the most significant mode of business across the country. Access to internet and cashless services, if easily available to all, could grow the trend of online shopping in the country as the current trends of shopping is having a brighter prospect.
According to some locals, E-commerce is not the only thing that spurs the interest but also the ability to attain some services online such as food delivery, and booking cinema tickets is growing very rapid. More to it, non-Egyptian websites that have international shipping (eg. Amazon) provide an opportunity to have access to products that are not available locally, and have a growing customer base in Egypt. This highlights a competition for local online shopping platforms and the choice of shopping on whatever platform is usually concluded with ‘time for delivery’ and ‘price. ’
Usually, like in the case of many other countries, electronics is the most showcased and stocked items on consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer platforms, while clothing follow up. In Egypt, clothing is not a growing trend as compared to electronics. Some people prefer a physical presence to witness the quality of clothes and garments before purchasing, however, there is still a favorable number of the youth population shopping clothes online. The youth are the demographic making the most online purchases. They are young enough to be internet-savvy and spend a significant amount of time online, while having the financial means and instruments to make purchases (eg. Credit cards, paypal, etc).
Due to the growing interest for online shopping, some local grocery stores are currently putting up online shops as alternative to customers who prefer to shop online. In addition, there are farms that sell their produce directly online which is also growing in number. As there are hundreds of platforms across the country, Souq.com remains the most popular for consumer goods shopping in Egypt. Last year, Master Card reported that Souq.com was also the most popular shopping platform in the United Arab Emirates.