Egyptian eCommerce

Egyptian eCommerce is set for huge growth, but online retailers need to be aware that it’s a cash based society


Egypt is home to the highest number of Internet users in the Arab world, with over half the population online, accounting for 48 million users.

Alia el-Mahdy, Professor of Economics at Cairo University, said,

 “There is a lot of potential in the e-commerce market in Egypt. It is a large country with a huge population and a lot of untapped resources.”

Payfort’s report on the State of Payments in the Arab World, says that eCommerce will reach 2.7 billion USD by 2020, showing steep growth given that in 2014 it was worth just 1.4 billion USD. The leading age group for online purchases are 26-35 years old.

Mahdy claims that eCommerce will continue to grow for a number of reasons, “A large percentage of Egyptians are under 30 years old. There is huge government support for technology. There is an unprecedented growth on smartphones, and there is also a greater demand for branded products,” she said.

Egypt is not without its challenges, 72% of customers use cash for their eCommerce purchases, and currently only 8% of internet users are online shoppers.

Sherif El-Rakabawy, founder of Yaoota, says,

 “Egypt remains a cash-based economy, if we move beyond the domination of cash society, the growth of e-commerce in Egypt would accelerate even more.”

eCommerce Insight:

eCommerce in Egypt is in its earliest stages, with few brands offering their goods online, and few people shopping online. However, as the leading Arab country when it comes to internet users, companies are beginning to pay attention. eCommerce will grow steeply in the coming years, and brands hoping to capitalize on the growth will need to offer cash-based payment methods, to build trust in an emerging market.