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Omar Soudodi, managing director of Payfort

Online transactions up 22pc in Middle East

DUBAI, October 15, 2017

The regional payment industry saw an overall 22 per cent increase in online transactions during 2016, led by strong growth in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE, showing 27 per cent, 22 per cent and 21 per cent year-on-year growth, respectively, according to a report.

Payfort, a leading online payment service provider in the region, recently announced its fourth “State of Payments in the Arab World” report which is based on the study of seven key countries for the regional payment industry, in a new interactive format, offering up-to-date data and analysis on the region’s payment trends and consumer buying habits.

The latest edition of the report has been completely redeveloped to deliver a fully-customisable, interactive experience. It allows readers to create their own customised report to show different data and insights on seven key countries (Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE) and four key online payment segments: airline, travel, ecommerce (online shopping) and entertainment sectors, said a statement from the company.

Meanwhile, the report identifies ‘Events and Entertainment’ as the fastest growing payments sector showing annual 33 per cent growth from 2015 to 2016.

Omar Soudodi, managing director of Payfort, said: “Our latest edition of the report marks the most dramatic change to it since we launched the project in 2014.”

“Each year we’ve worked hard to ensure that the report delivers more value than the last, shedding light on real issues for the region’s online business merchants. However, this year we put the control in the hands of our readers, providing them with interactive tools that allow them to easily adapt the data sets for their own needs and business decision making,” he said.

One of Payfort's new study objectives for this year's report was to measure consumer appetite and attitudes towards new financial technology (fintech) applications and services, it said.

Research revealed that there is still plenty of room for growth in several fintech market segments. For example, 17 per cent of those surveyed in the UAE are looking for new and better alternatives to send international money transfers, it added.

There is also a sizeable opportunity for online wallet solutions, with around 47 per cent of consumers across the region yet to adopt the technology.

A total of $30.4 billion of goods and services were purchased online in the seven countries during 2016, increasing 22 per cent on the $24.9 billion of payments during 2015. The top countries in terms of dollar value and growth in value were the UAE with $12.4 billion of transactions and 21 per cent annual growth in total amount paid online; Saudi Arabia with $8.3 billion of transactions and 27 per cent growth; and Egypt with $6.2 billion of transactions and 22 per cent growth.

Saudi Arabia was the fastest growing country in the airlines and travel sectors, showing 21 per cent year-on-year growth in airline payment volume and 36 per cent growth in travel and tourism. Egypt led the region in the growth of online shopping with a 32 per cent increase in volume of payments. Meanwhile, the UAE was the fastest growing country in the entertainment and events sector, showing 36 per cent growth, said a statement.

Security remains the top concern among those that choose not to pay for goods and services online, with more than 50 per cent of cash-on-delivery customers surveyed in all countries stating that they would only switch to online payments if they were convinced that the payment method was secure. Cash-on-delivery was most popular as a payment option in Egypt (70 per cent usage) and Lebanon (60 per cent usage).

Nardeen Abdalla, marketing director of Payfort, said: “Despite the enormous growth in the region’s online payments and usage of ecommerce, security fears remain prevalent among consumers.”

“Although we now see a greater willingness to make online transactions, consumers are increasingly aware of the risks of fraud and other cybercrimes. They are also increasingly demanding, seeking faster and easier checkouts,” she said.

“We are helping businesses in the region take their online sales and payment options to the next level, by simplifying the checkout process for businesses, allowing them to offer their customers a choice of secure online payment options,” she added.

Additionally, the report highlighted the growing interest in mobile payments, with 50 per cent of respondents in six out of seven countries showing an interest in mobile payment apps.

It also showed that consumer usage of mobile wallets is widespread, with 33 per cent of respondents in Saudi Arabia already using mobile wallets, compared to 27 per cent in Egypt and Lebanon, 25 per cent in Jordan, 23 per cent in the UAE and 17 per cent in Qatar.

In addition to an extensive section on consumer buying habits and consumer preferences in the region, the report also includes a new shopping cart guide and a guide to checkout page best practices.
    
The report’s analysis is derived from data collected in the countries in which Payfort operates such as Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, it stated. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: | Middle East | Online | transactions |

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