Online shopping is gaining widespread popularity in Egypt – Flickr/Elaine Smith
CAIRO – 24 December 2017: Online shopping is gaining widespread popularity in Egypt given the variety of online shopping websites that offer competitive prices, convenience and genuine products; there is a new wave of local entrepreneurs and retailers who became popular amongst Egyptian online shoppers.
According to the payments agency Payfort’s 2017 report, titled “State of Payments in the Arab World” and issued in October, Egypt witnessed a 22 percent annual growth in total amount of online payments, estimated at $6.2 billion of transactions in 2016.
Based on the study, the Arab countries witnessed an overall 22 percent rise in online transactions during 2016. Seven Arab countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Qatar, purchased a total of $30.4 billion of goods and services online last year, compared to $24.9 billion of payments during 2015. The top countries in terms of growth in value also included the UAE with $12.4 billion of transactions and 21 percent annual growth in total amount paid online, and Saudi Arabia with $8.3 billion of transactions and 27 percent growth.
The report showed that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region's consumers spend most on airlines, bookings for travel and hotels, followed by shopping for home appliances and clothing.
Egypt scored the highest growth of online shopping with a 32 percent increase in volume of payments. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia showed a 21 percent year-on-year growth in airline payment volume and a 36 percent growth in travel and tourism. The UAE was the fastest growing country in the entertainment and events sector, showing 36 percent growth.
About 70 percent of Egyptian shoppers are still suspicious of security levels of online payments therefore the cash-on-delivery remains the most popular payment option. The report also pointed out that more than 50 percent of cash-on-delivery customers surveyed in all countries stated that they would only switch to online payments if they were convinced that the payment method was secure.
The report also highlighted the growing interest in mobile payments, with 27 percent of surveyed people in Egypt stated that they use mobile wallets, compared to 33 percent in Saudi Arabia, 25 percent in Jordan, 23 percent in the UAE, and 17 percent in Qatar.
On the other hand, people aged 26-35 were found to be the largest age group to buy products online. This fact gives high potentiality that online purchases will continue to grow in Egypt as a large percentage of Egyptian population is under 30 years old. There is also huge government support for technology, unprecedented growth in smartphone sales, and a greater demand for branded products.
Tips for secure online shopping
With online shopping grasping more attention across the world, Egypt Today has put some tips on how to stay safe and secure when shopping online especially that the Christmas season is underway.
You should make sure to deal with trustworthy online websites that have good reputation. Sticking with popular brands ensures the high quality and suitable price of products. Beware of fake and professional looking websites that may steal your money or exploit your personal data in illegal purposes.
Credit cards and secure payment services are more effective in online shopping. As a general rule, credit cards, in comparison to debit cards, offer consumers additional protection when shopping online. Likewise, using secure online payment services, such as those offered by PayPal, are advisable. The advantage with these providers is that they act as a kind of middle man; you deliver payment to them and they then pass it onto the retailer. Your bank details always remain unseen.
Online shoppers should beware of deceitful offers that are too attractive and unrealistic. We have to be alarmed because there are plenty of scams looking to hook those surfing on the Internet with tempting offers. Such fake offers can be seen frequently during holiday seasons, when there are a lot of amazing and genuine offers. It is always better to go for reliable brands and secure URLs to ensure that the offer is authentic.
Check the terms of sale on the online retailers such as refund policies and delivery dates. Do not forget to print and keep records of your transactions on the Internet.
Make sure that you ordered exactly what you meant to buy through reading the product's description carefully, especially the notes written in small words.
Calculate the total cost of the product, shipping, and delivery before making your online purchase, taking into account your needs and budget.