Qatar’s e-commerce market sales to exceed $3.2bn by next yearThamer Freihat
The boom in Qatar’s e-commerce market is set to continue amid growing number of retailers and consumers shifting to online platforms and increase in the demand for digital banking products and services. With increasing number of consumers and retailers opting for online payments, Qatar’s e-commerce market is now expected to exceed the earlier estimated target of $3.2bn by next year.
‘The Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) had projected in 2018 that e-commerce sales would reach $3.2bn by 2022, up from $1.3bn in 2017. This projection could potentially be exceeded as online sales were boosted by the COVID-19 outbreak, which forced many retailers and consumers to shift to online platforms, said a report released by Qatar Financial Centre last week.
Because of the increase in trend of more people using online payment platform, the e-commerce penetration rate in Qatar has more than doubled to 37 percent in 2019 from 15 percent in 2018.
One of main reasons behind growth of e-commerce in Qatar is the outbreak of pandemic which has forced many people to opt for online payments. With the spread of coronvirus, banks and financial institutions and financial institutions swung into actions and launched new products and services that allowed customers to avail services at the click of mouse and make online payments. Banks have launched contactless ATM cards which allow customers to make contactless payment by just a taping on the PoS (Point of Sale) machines. With these cards, there is no need for customers to touch PoS buttons.
Banks have also begun to launch wearable devices (wristbands) which enable customers to make payment without wallets, credit cards, debit cards, or smartphones.
Such innovations have not only add to customer’s convenience but have also played crucial role in allowing people to observe social distancing.
E-commerce companies have played a significant role as they enabled other businesses to maintain their operations.
During periods when COVID-19 measures restricted individuals’ movement, these platforms were the best solution for consumers to continue purchasing and receiving all types of products.
Sensing the need to online, many retail outlets and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) started exploring social media platforms such as Whatsapp, Instagram and Talabat to attract customers and boost sales.
In order to tap online retail market, many companies in Qatar have registered with ministries. Over 350 e-commerce websites have registered with e-commerce directory of the Ministry of Transport and Communications.