The Middle East region is witnessing strong growth in the electronic payments market, where the market expanded noticeably by 23.3%. The increase is the result of the strong growth in the Saudi, Egyptian and Emirati markets, and the growth in Saudi Arabia is the result of increasing reliance on electronic commerce and flight bookings.
According to PAYFORT, the market of Emirates is the largest in the region, where payment operations amounted to $10.25bn in 2015, while the Saudi market amounted to $6.4bn, the Egyptian market amounted to $5.1bn, and the Kuwaiti market amounted to $1.26bn.
The report highlighted the analysis of the electronic payment operations as well as the expected developments in the seven main Arab countries in the field. The report revealed that the region witnessed a total growth of 22% in the electronic payment operations in 2016 thanks to the growth led by Saudi Arabia by 27%, Egypt by 22%, and Emirates by 21%. According to the report, the conferences, fairs, entertainment, concerts and promotional activities came as the most growing sectors in electronic payments, where growth reached 33% in 2016, compared to the year before.
The seven countries included in the report are Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The report also included the four commercial sectors that witness the highest electronic payment rates, which are flight bookings, travel and tourism, electronic commerce, entertainment, concerts, and promotional activities.
The growth of the Egyptian market is supported by online bookings, where payments of the sector locally reached $2.18bn, and the electronic commerce sector reached $1.8bn, where buyers through internet reached 17.7 million people.
The report revealed that the total value of services and goods bought electronically in the aforementioned seven Arab countries in the field reached $30.4bn in 2016 compared to $24.9bn in 2015, with 22%. Emirates came on top of the list of countries in terms of the cash value of the items purchased online, as well as the rate of electronic payment growth, with $12.4bn total and an annual increase of 21%. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia recorded $8.3bn with 27% annual increase, and Egypt recorded $6.2bn with annual increase of 22%.
According to the report, Saudi Arabia was the fastest growing in terms of e-payments across the airline and travel services sector, where annual growth reached 21% year-on-year (y-o-y), and 36% in the field of travel and tourism.
The report said that Egypt topped the list of the countries in the region in terms of growth rates in e-shopping, where electronic payment operations growth reached 32% in the field. Emirates was classified the fastest growing in e-payment in the sector of entertainment, conferences, and concerts with 36% growth.
According to the report, the option to pay in cash on delivery was the most prevalent in e-shopping operations in Egypt, where it represented 70% of e-shopping operations, followed by Lebanon by 60% payment on delivery of total e-shopping operations. The report pointed out that the top reason why consumers rely on this option is their concerns about the safety of electronic transactions.
More than 50% of those who resort to pay in cash and were surveyed in the report said that they would only pay online if they were sure about the safety of the payment method.
According to the report, 22% of the respondents included in the survey about salaries said that their salaries are less than $266 monthly, and 26% have their salaries range between $266 and $532, while 20% have their salaries range between $532 and $1065.
The report expects the electronic payments market in Egypt to grow to $14.04bn by 2020, occupying the third place after the Saudi market in the second place with $22.13bn, and Emirates in the first place with a market volume of $27.13bn by 2020.
The online flight booking market in Egypt is expected to grow to $4.35bn, while payment operations to book travels would reach $2.35bn, and the sector of e-commerce is expected to grow to $7.3bn.