Fast facts:

eCommerce in the Middle East

middle east
middle east

In the last ten years, eCommerce has experienced substantial growth in the Middle East, revolutionising retail practices throughout the region. Fuelled by technological progress, evolving consumer habits and higher internet accessibility, eCommerce has become a pivotal force propelling economic expansion in the Middle East.

Before 2020, the region faced challenges with limited payment options, a lack of trust in online retailers and a preference for shopping in-store. With COVID restrictions pressurising the need for online shopping, the region now has wider internet coverage, more smartphones in circulation and digital payment systems in place, pointing to fast growth in this market.

The UK is one of the top preferred destinations to shop online from, with 18% of shoppers in countries within the region, such as UAE, opting for UK retailers and products.

eCommerce in the Middle East: Poised for substantial growth

349.5 million

estimated internet users in the Middle East in 2022


of consumers across MENA (Middle East and North Africa) purchased products online


of consumers across MENA prefer to use a digital payment method, going up to 80% in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council)


Middle East Demographics

Population: 483 million

Internet users:




Average annual full-time salary:

190,337 AED (40,988 GBP/ 47,808 EUR)


eBook: Overcoming International eCommerce delivery challenges

The most popular eCommerce product categories

Middle East – eCommerce Growth Rate

23% growth

from 2018 to 2021

40% of users

started shopping online more after the COVID-19 outbreak

Average spend:

$122 per e-commerce transaction, while GCC shoppers spend $150USD on average per shopping cart

Substantial increase

in average order value in the Middle East attributed to Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) payments


Top 5 Online Marketplaces

middle east ecommerce

199.3m users per month

92.7m users per month

middle east ecommerce

48.2m users per month

46.4m users per month

middle east ecommerce

33.3m users per month


Leading carriers in the Middle East

middle east ecommerce
middle east ecommerce
middle east ecommerce
middle east ecommerce
middle east ecommerce
middle east ecommerce
middle east ecommerce


Top Tips

  • It’s important to be aware of government policies across the Middle East that can affect selling into this marketplace, such as the UAE Vision 2021 which, in a push to prioritise cashless transactions and digital trade, has enacted business-friendly measures to help the expansion of eCommerce.
  • Many smaller countries in the Middle East have their own currencies and payment laws and regulations that need to be adhered to.


Interested in expanding your business to the thriving Middle East market?

Due to diverse geography and different consumer expectations across the region, efficient and reliable last-mile delivery solutions are essential to meet customer demands and ensure you have a competitive edge.

GFS International gives your business the edge to reach international markets with our local lane expertise and partnerships to “ship like a local”. At GFS, we carefully evaluate the carrier market to route every parcel with the best carrier and service for each country at the best cost. With 3 service levels, but one parcel label, one tracking number and one collection, international delivery has never been simpler.

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