32% of MENA Internet users buy online

Hampered by a lack of online payment infrastructure and the high cost of broadband, e-commerce has been slow to develop in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and although there are some notable e-commerce pioneers, few online ventures in the region encourage Internet users to buy online. However, as the region’s consumers spend more and more time online, online shopping is one of the activities that one would expect to increase in popularity. As usual, facts and figures are still a bit thin on the ground and so we made online shopping the focus of this month’s Media Consumption & Habits of MENA Internet Users Survey from Effective Measure and Spot On PR.

Our survey drew responses from nearly 7,000 Internet users across the Middle East & North Africa and provides some baseline data on online shopping habits for those trying to make sense of the region’s consumer e-commerce market. Overall, 32% of MENA Internet users surveyed admitted to buying products online, with the GCC states being the most active region. Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates lead the region in having the most active online shoppers, with 47.5% of Internet users in each country buying online.

Here are some more key points from the survey:

32% of all Middle East & North Africa Internet users surveyed buy products or services online, compared with 62% in the UK (UK ONS August 2010).

43% of Internet users surveyed in the GCC bought products or services online, 11% higher than the MENA average, with 11% shopping online more than 3 times per month.

20% of Internet users surveyed in the Levant (Jordan, Lebanon & Syria) have bought products or services online.

19% of Internet users surveyed in North Africa have bought products or services online.

28% of male Internet users in our MENA survey shop online, compared with 25% of females in the survey.

While all online shoppers surveyed share similar online buying habits, there are differences in habits such as an increased preference for buying clothing and accessories by female shoppers and for buying electronic equipment by male shoppers.

Airline tickets, hotel reservations / tourism services, computer software, books, electronic equipment and clothing / accessories were the most popular categories of online purchase among MENA Internet users during June, July and August.

Survey Downloads

Download the full survey report (PDF)

Download the press release (English, Word doc)

Download the press release (Arabic, Word doc)

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Creative Commons

Media Consumption & Habits of MENA Internet users by Effective Measure and Spot On Public Relations is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Want to read more?

If you liked reading this post about MENA Internet users, you might like some of our other Internet demographics and habits surveys:

MENA Internet habits Survey (July 2010)

15 Million MENA Facebook Users – Report (May 2010)

Twitter & Customer Service Survey (March 2010)

Spot On PR’s MENA Twitter Demographics & User Habits Survey (2009)

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Carrington Malin

About the Author ()

Carrington Malin is co-founder of Spot On and has been managing sales, marketing, media and communications campaigns across the Middle East for more than 20 years. He likes technology, surfing and chicken liver salad. You can contact Carrington via Twitter at @carringtonmalin or via his website www.carringtonmalin.com

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