United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates

General Information

  • Population 9.9m
  • Population 15 + 8.4m
  • Online Population 9.8m
  • Area 83,600 km2
  • Currency AED
  • GDP 354,3bn USD
  • GDP per Capita 31,982 USD
  • Card-based payments
  • Cash-based payments
  • Bank transfer
  • Wallets
  • Other
[{"label":"Card-based payments","value":"49"},{"label":"Cash-based payments","value":"12"},{"label":"Bank transfer","value":"11"},{"label":"Wallets","value":"18"},{"label":"Other","value":"10"}]
Banked population
  • United Arab Emirates 88%
  • Middle East & Africa 48%
  • World 67%
Credit card penetration
  • United Arab Emirates 45%
  • Middle East & Africa 12%
  • World 19%
Internet penetration
  • United Arab Emirates 99%
  • Middle East & Africa 45%
  • World 62%
Smartphone penetration
  • United Arab Emirates 83%
  • Middle East & Africa 65%
  • World 70%

The UAE e-commerce market is driven by a high mobile phone penetration rate, a young population with high income levels, and a growing use of social media for both marketing and selling products through.

Similar to the Saudi market, the UAE e-commerce market has adopted a hybrid online-bricks-and-mortar market with shopping malls all over the Emirates keen to accept e-commerce purchases.

The government of the UAE have set in motion plans to upgrade and modernise digital payment methods to help the unbanked gain access to online retail. In addition, there are plans to expand their cross-border logistics infrastructure.

The UAE’s economy fell by 5.9% in 2020 but is set to grow by 3.1% in 2021 according to the IMF, and 2.6% in 2022. Meanwhile inflation which dropped by 2.1% in 2020 is set to rise by 2.9% in 2021 but fall again by 1.2% in 2022.

Future e-commerce trends (2021-2025)

E-Commerce market size forecast ($US billion)
2021 21.1
2022 26.4
2023 32.5
2024 39.6
2025 47.3
E-Commerce spending per capita ($US)
2021 2108
2022 2616
2023 3200
2024 3867
2025 4582
E-Commerce spending as % of GDP
2021 5.7
2022 6.8
2023 8.0
2024 9.3
2025 10.7

United Arab Emirates

The E-Commerce Market

Top e-commerce segments

  1. Health & Beauty: 15% | 23%
  2. Toys, DIY, and hobbies: 12% | 21%
  3. Airlines & Hotels: 45% | 17%
  4. Electrical Goods: 13% | 16%
  5. Food & Drink: 6% | 10%

Cross-border e-commerce

  1. Cross-border proportion of total e-commerce – 17%
  2. Value of cross-border e-commerce ($US billion) – 3.0
  3. % of online shoppers who have shopped cross-border – 60%

Top 3 cross-border shopping origin markets

  1. USA: 22%
  2. India: 16%
  3. China: 15%
E-commerce % of total retail
  • United Arab Emirates 7%
  • Middle East & Africa 3.0%
  • World 20%
E-commerce completed on a mobile device
  • United Arab Emirates 51%
  • Middle East & Africa 53%
  • World 53%

The Credit Card Split

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Other
[{"label":"Visa","value":"60"},{"label":"Mastercard","value":"37"},{"label":"American Express","value":"2"},{"label":"Other","value":"1"}]
  • E-commerce market size ($US billion) 17.2bn USD
  • E-Commerce spending per capita ($US) 1,744 USD
  • E-commerce spending as % of GDP 4.9%

The information on our Insights pages has been compiled by us in cooperation with Datamatics and Wright & Brown. The data shown is partially owned by us and partially owned by GlobalData. © 2021 by PPRO Financial Ltd. No data and information can be used for any further publication without the explicit approval of PPRO.

United Arab Emirates

Local Payment Methods

BitPay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Hyperwallet Type Bank transfer, Gift card, Prepaid voucher Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High PaysafeCard Type Prepaid voucher Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Paysera Wallet Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Skrill Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Allied Wallet Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High UnionPay Type Local payment card Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Apple Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Boku Type Carrier billing Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High DaoPay Type Carrier billing Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Google Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High klip Type Wallet Regions Middle East & Africa Market relevance High Masterpass Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Mobiamo Type Carrier billing Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Razer Gold Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High Samsung Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High SWIFT Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance High 7-Eleven Type Cash Regions Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, North America Market relevance Medium CASHU Type Wallet Regions Middle East & Africa Market relevance Medium eWallet Type Wallet Regions Middle East & Africa Market relevance Medium MBME Type Cash Regions Middle East & Africa Market relevance Medium OneCard Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa Market relevance Medium Secure Remote Commerce (SRC) Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Market relevance Medium Boloro Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Cordial Type Prepaid card Regions Middle East & Africa e-dirham Type Local payment card Regions Middle East & Africa G2A Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Mercury Type Local payment card Regions Middle East & Africa NETELLER Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3 Nol Type Local payment card Regions Middle East & Africa Splitit Type Instalments Regions Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe & the CIS, Middle East & Africa + 3

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