With Saudi Arabia’s new leadership and notable economic reforms, the outlook for foreign ventures and investment is promising. BigOnIT are exploring various opportunities in Food, Healthcare and Food Security in the Middle East.
This blog series provides an update on our ventures in the region, as well as the current business landscape as I see it.
See Part 1: Food Security and Food products in Saudi Arabia
With thousands having access to the Internet and going online every year, in addition to the boost in mobile commerce traffic, the Arab peninsula has become the fastest growing e-commerce sector in the world. According to ArabWorld’s Online Payment Report for 2014, which covers the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Kuwait, the following developments are taking place in the Arab e-commerce sector: 
In the UAE, 60% of the 3.65 million e-commerce customers are located in Dubai, while another 27% are in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi collectively. In Egypt, 27% of e-commerce purchases are paid for with a credit card, while cash on delivery makes up the remainder.
Average cash-on-delivery (COD) orders had a minor decrease of 0.8% in the last year, decreasing from $114 in 2013 to $113 in 2014. Credit card orders meanwhile had a 49% increase in the last year, increasing from $155 in 2013 to $168 in 2014. Overall, there was an increase in e-commerce basket size in the UAE.
Saudi Arabia saw an overall increase in e-commerce basket size. There was an increase of 8% for cash-on-delivery orders in the last year, increasing from $143 in 2013 to $154 in 2014. Credit card orders then saw a 32% increase in the last year, increasing from $96 in 2013 to $127 in 2014.
Egypt saw the largest increase in e-commerce basket size. There was an increase of 16% cash-on-delivery orders in the last year, increasing from $83 in 2013 to $96 in 2014. Credit card orders then saw a 36% increase in the last year, increasing from $71 in 2013 to $96 in 2014.
People in the Arab World transact on mobiles more than the global average. 41% of smartphone users in the Arab World transact online, while only 21.3% of global smartphone users transact online.
18 to 26 year olds make up the largest demographic group of mobile payment users with 39% of the market. This age group is expected to reach $2.45 trillion in transactions worldwide by 2015. The next largest group is the 27 to 39 year olds with 31% of the market, followed by 40 to 61 year olds with 26%, and 62 and older with 3% of the market.
All these indicate that there is a large opportunity for online coffee roasting in Arab countries, particularly Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Not only are young consumers driving coffee consumption, they are also the leading users of e-commerce in the region, proving that online coffee ecosystems have a chance to flourish in the market. It should be emphasized that young consumers specifically look for premium coffee experience coupled with convenience, both aspects that Newbeans CTAPS system can provide.
Of importance will be the provision of COD options and mobile-responsive e-commerce pages given the habits stated above.
In my next post, I’ll be sharing with you the strategy we’ve made for BigOnIT and Newbeans Coffee’s entry to the Middle East and North Africa.