Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Saudi Arabia’s e-commerce market is expected to witness steady growth over the next two years, culminating in a market share of SAR 50 billion (USD 13 billion).
Compared to neighboring countries, Saudi e-commerce is considered to be a growing market, comprising approximately 45% of the regional market share. The rapid growth of e-commerce is the result of increasing numbers of Internet users, as well as advanced commercial regulations. In comparison to other Gulf States, Saudi commercial law has helped improve the country’s business environment in the absence of tough regulations concerning commercial enterprise elsewhere.
Through the efforts of a young businesswoman, the first e-commerce meeting for businesswomen was held in Riyadh last Tuesday. The Wasla [Link] initiative was launched by Dana Al-Syiari, owner of an online stationary store, who remarked that businesswomen in this field do not have many opportunities to hold business meetings.
The first Wasla meeting called on businesswomen to discuss all aspects of the business and try to solve the problems in the market. The meeting also called on those who intend to start their own business to share their experience with others and to discuss ways to support the market, in addition to the establishment of a quarterly Wasla meeting to strengthen communication between female traders and raise awareness among those new to the field.
Dana Al-Siyari said that entrepreneurs do not have enough experience in management or in dealing with investors.
The Wasla meeting is part of the activities sponsored by Itjar Group, a non-profit organization that promotes e-commerce in Saudi Arabia. The group is one of the projects supported by Badir Program for Technology Incubators initiated by King Abdulaziz City for Sciences and Technology (KACST).
Nour Abdulkarim, CEO of the Business Support & Development Center at Princess Nora bint Abdul Rahman University (PNU), said that an increased focus on technical issues is one of the problems facing owners of new e-commerce projects. She pointed out that the the e-commerce market will grow by USD 50 billion in 2015. Abdulkarim added that 60% of online shoppers in Saudi Arabia are females, with the Alam hawa’a [Eve’s World] platform for e-commerce serving about 250 million female traders.
The CEO of the Business Support & Development Center said that there is an urgent need for Saudi Arabia to authorize a new method of payment other than ‘Cash-On-Delivery’ (COD) and bank transfers.