The Middle East & Africa

The Region

Africa and the Middle East are complex markets. There is a stark contrast between the high earning and high-worth consumer segments and the low-earning population. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, the average national income is $16,852 a year. But this conceals a much more complex picture. The least-affluent 50% of Saudi Arabians take home 7.8% of the national income. The richest 1% earn 19.7% of the national income. And the 49% of people who fall between the richest and the poorest share 72.5% of the national income. A similar pattern is repeated across the region. While income polarisation may be socially undesirable, for retailers it means that a substantial part of society that has the disposable income to spend on consumer goods.

The Middle Eastern & African
Payment Landscape

The Local Payment Culture

The most common way to pay for online purchases in Africa and the Middle East is by card, which has a 44% market share4. Looking at the region as a whole, cash is the next most popular online payment method, with 23% of the e-commerce market. Bank transfers have 14%, and e-wallets and various other methods have an 11% and 8% share respectively.

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The E-Commerce Market

The Middle Eastern and African countries covered by this research have an e-commerce market worth almost $79 billion, growing at a rate of 30% a year. In Middle Eastern markets, e-commerce accounts for around 5% of all retail purchases (varying from 0.6% in Morocco right up to 8.6% in Saudi Arabia). In Sub-Saharan Africa, 1.1% of all retail purchases are made online and 54% of those are completed on a mobile device. Most of the population people rely on tech — rather than traditional branches or face-to-face transactions — for access to financial services.

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