May 23, 2024

E-commerce and Digital Payments in the Middle East

Last Updated on March 19, 2024 by Ola Precious Akinkuolie

E-commerce and digital payments have changed the Middle Eastern commercial space. The Middle East and other countries take advantage of digital payments. The number of people who live “mostly cashless lifestyles”—that is, who either never use real money or just use it once a month or less—has been rising over time.

Residents in this region use contactless payment methods. There is a lot of conjecture over whether or not cashless transactions will become the norm in the future, given that this has already been the norm.

E-commerce in the Middle East

E-commerce has become a major force. In a short time, it has positively changed both consumer purchasing habits and corporate operations in an area.

The pandemic led to a massive increase in e-commerce in the region. The study analysis conducted by Euromonitor International indicates that the COVID-19 outbreak prompted large retail businesses to use digital payment solutions quickly. The MENA region’s internet retail volumes have increased by over 50% since 2019.

According to projections, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s entire online transaction value would be accounted for by mobile commerce in 2025 to the tune of almost 70%. Furthermore, mobile remittance services have broadened to include a larger range of value-added services, emulating all-inclusive digital wallets across the African continent.

When e-commerce first became popular a few years ago, it was characterized by a lack of payment choices, mistrust about internet transactions, and a strong preference for conventional brick-and-mortar purchasing. ‘Mall culture’ and cash transactions were the norm, saturating the consumer scene in the area.

Still, as is often seen in the Middle East, change happens quickly. This is particularly true given how quickly the digital economy is growing and how popular digital payments are becoming all around the area. Use and adoption rates have increased dramatically in the last several years. Although they were a major factor, the mandatory lockdowns during the epidemic weren’t the only thing that caused this change.

Governments around the region are stepping up their attempts to create sophisticated digital economies to reduce reliance on oil. Projects like the Vision 2030 of Saudi Arabia, the UAE Digital Government Strategy 2025, and the Qatar National Vision 2030 are essential to this effort. In order to foster an environment where new companies may spur innovation, they place a high priority on digital payments, digital commerce, and wider digital financial services.

Another important factor is demographics. Fast, easy, and simple shopping experiences, as well as financial management solutions, are becoming more and more in demand as the younger generation enters the workforce. 

The region’s positive economic outlook and government agencies’ coordinated efforts to foster a digital economy, such as Saudi Vision 2030, Egypt’s Vision 2030, and the UAE’s digital strategy, are also important factors that led to the transition from cash to digital payments.


The payment landscape in the Middle East region is experiencing a significant overhaul. Technology has made people embrace cashless policy and imbibe the different digital payment cash alternatives.

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Introducing Ola Precious Akinkuolie, a dynamic professional with over three years of enriching experience in the branding and marketing sector. Ola is characterized by a relentless work ethic and a keen sensibility for the aesthetic elements of branding. Her expertise lies in enhancing the visual and strategic aspects of marketing, making every brand she touches not only visually compelling but also strategically sound.

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