There is a global development trend for which the Middle East and the Maghreb regions benefit the most. These countries have an ecommerce growth in double digit numbers, whereas in most European countries there is “only” a single digit number for growth.
Ecommerce businesses are developing everywhere, and especially in the Maghreb and the Middle East where the online markets are functioning particularly well. The real gateway to the Gulf countries may soon play a major role in this new business landscape due to the high quality of their equipment and the development of new technologies.
In Africa, one of the only continents where most transactions are done mostly with cash, and where society is wary about online payments, innovative payment systems are seen to be increasing. Also, there is a 70% mobile penetration, which means that many consumers can be connected via mobile providers.
At the Jumia (a leading Nigerian retailer) e-commerce conference in Lagos, it was shown that success in a country that is mostly unbanked is more about giving choices to the consumers rather than persuading them to accept e-commerce. This seems to have been the case in Nigeria: “People still don’t really believe that if they buy something online that it will actually be delivered to them, some companies decided to let them see and touch the goods before purchasing. So we have POD (pay on delivery),” says Jumia co-founder Raphael Afaedoz.
In Russia, B2C e-commerce is flourishing as well, driven by the emergence of new online consumers. The recent “Russia B2C E-Commerce and Online Payment Report 2013” provides information about B2C e-commerce and the movement towards online and mobile purchase transactions. A lot of foreign companies and investors have also entered the Russian e-commerce market in recent years. Online payment already reaches a double-digit share of the largest Internet audience in Europe, and more importantly, let us not forget Russia accounts for more than 140 million potential consumers.