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Saudi net users spend $3.38bn on e-commerce

Amman, January 8, 2008

Saudi Arabia’s Internet users spent over $3.28 billion in B2C e-commerce during 2007, says a major study.

The new Arab Advisors Group survey of Internet users in Saudi Arabia reveals substantial adoption of e-commerce in the affluent and booming economy.

About 48.36 per cent of Internet users in Saudi Arabia reported purchasing products and services online and through their mobile handsets over the past 12 months.

Based on the survey findings, the Arab Advisors Group estimates e-commerce users in Saudi Arabia to exceed 3.5 million consumers representing 14.26 per cent of the population.

The survey report: "Saudi Arabia Internet users and e-commerce Survey 2008" covered the Internet usage, e commerce and cellular usage and habits of the Internet users in Saudi Arabia. The survey field work was conducted between November and December 2007.

“Saudi Arabia’s large population, its booming economy and increased Internet adoption, provide an ideal context for a thriving e-commerce scene. Our major survey of Internet users in Saudi Arabia revealed a massive size for B2C e-commerce in the country which presents opportunities for global and regional e-commerce players to tap into this growing market.” Jawad Abbassi, founder and general manager of Arab Advisors Group commented.

Respondents were randomly targeted by receiving an email shot in their inbox to ask them to fill the survey in co-operation with major online portals in the region.

The survey report includes online replies from 1,919 respondents. Quality control checks and personal validation were conducted by Arab Advisors Group’s team.

The survey was conducted on the general Internet population, including both genders and all age groups across Saudi Arabia. The online survey yields a confidence level of 99 per cent with a margin of error of less than 2 per cent.

According to the survey results, 46.4 per cent of Internet users in Saudi have Internet access at work, while 36.6 per cent use Internet cafes and 34.3 per cent use WiFi hot spots.

A full 23.7 per cent do not access the Internet except from their homes. Naturally, access methods overlapped.

While the survey covered Internet users, it also probed the reasons behind why other members of the same households surveyed do not use the Internet.

Based on the feedback of Internet users, computer illiteracy, lack of interest, lack of a perceived need to use the Internet and being too young to use the Internet are the main reasons for keeping non-Internet users in Saudi from using the Internet.

The survey also revealed that the vast majority of Internet users in Saudi use Hotmail, Yahoo! mail and Gmail for their personal email service.

Regional Arabic-focused email providers have less than a 10 per cent share of the Internet users in Saudi Arabia. There is also plenty of service provider overlap (when users use more than one email service).

“42.2 per cent Saudi Arabia’s e-commerce users make their payments through credit cards. Another 11.5 per cent reported using Internet shopping cards provided by their banks.” Andrawes Snobar, Arab Advisors Senior research analyst and team leader, wrote in the survey report. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Arab Advisors Group | Saudi Arabia | E-commerce | internet users |

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