COVID-19 Pandemic gives e-Commerce Platforms a Major Boost
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COVID-19 Pandemic gives e-Commerce Platforms a Major Boost

UAE and KSA markets report increase in online orders

TLME News Service

The pandemic created by the novel coronavirus (COVID 19) is driving consumers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to turn to e-commerce platforms in getting their essential needs instead of going to shopping malls and retail stores.

This demonstrates an overnight shift of consumer behavior from bulk-buying to online shopping, according to ITCAN, a leading e-commerce technology and digital marketing company focused on e-commerce performance marketing.

The firm has reported that online orders on certain products such as skin care and other personal hygiene items have reflected an upward surge following new regulations by authorities to restrict outside activities and urging people to stay at home to curb the further spread of the coronavirus infection.

ITCAN noted the rapid increase in these categories between February 26 to March 26 in both countries.

In the UAE, the rate of orders for skin care soared to 143.96% with 99.92% of the increase came from orders made by new users, revealing a conversion rate of 33.45% in terms of website visitors or footfall. For the same category, orders in KSA rose to 105.37% with 32.7% by new users and a conversion rate of 63.59 per cent.

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The makeup category also gained huge orders in the UAE reaching 275% with 148.57% ordered by new users. The conversion rate was 67.93%. In KSA, the orders for makeup products shot up to 769.67% by March 26 with 187.15% of the orders from new users, leading to a conversion rate of 276.48%.

Mansour Althani, CEO & Co-founder of ITCAN, said: “The current global health situation is leading consumers worldwide to adapt to alternative ways of getting their goods, particularly through online shopping and they are likely to spike even more as cities raise the level of restrictions on people’s movement outside their homes.

“This shift in consumer behavior puts e-commerce platforms on the forefront to support people in the region who are still used to shopping their needs in malls and stores to move towards online marketplaces.”

Althani noted that although the situation across the GCC is under control and essential goods are very much available in all supermarkets, there continues to be a high turnout on e-commerce platforms for safety and precautionary reasons.

ITCAN cited previous studies which showed that up to 55% of shoppers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia favor smartphones when buying online. More than 60% of shoppers in the UAE and Saudi have made at least one online transaction, according to Bain & Company based on a 2017 report.

E-commerce is already a fast-growing market in the Middle East, however, its essential role in society has been highlighted by the current health crisis, solving people’s problems and potentially saving lives.

As the virus affects many businesses, many have quickly responded to the need of the hour and improved their online presence to keep their customers and attract newcomers.

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