Business owner working on eCommerce website
Preparing to export

How to enter the Middle East eCommerce market

Businesses are increasingly searching for fresh geographic markets and innovative supply chains to sustain past growth performance, extend their existing seasonal product life cycles, and broaden their networks.

They are looking to replace traditional bricks-and-mortar channels that limit their global reach and enter new markets via online shopping.

The Middle East and North African region is a lucrative destination due to its burgeoning population, liquidity and rapidly adopting eCommerce. This region’s internet users have grown by 5.8% in the last five years alone.

Middle East eCommerce statistics

  • According to McKinsey, online sales are projected to grow by 20% or more per year until 2022.
  • In the UAE, respondents to a survey by McKinsey estimated that they’ve increased their online spending by 31% over the past year.
  • 62% of survey respondents said they’ve shifted to online shopping due to its convenience.
  • A survey by PwC found 92% of Middle Eastern respondents plan to continue shopping online post-COVD.
  • 51% of those surveyed by PwC said they mainly shop online for groceries.
  • 53% of respondents said they’re shopping more on their smartphone.

Considerations for selling online to the Middle East


  • Offer genuine, recognisable branded products customers know and trust.
  • Use targeted social media content to build your online image, profile and market position.  


  • Demonstrate your product’s every day price competitive advantage – use bundles, offers and exclusive deals that immediately demonstrate value and create an immediate and memorable impression.

Service and marketing

  • Research your market. Get to know your target customer. Listen carefully to their needs and observe their behaviours.
  • Exceed and surprise your customer expectations with good service, ease of communication, speed, flexibility and options.
  • Offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee with free and easy reverse logistics.
  • Reward loyalty to encourage retention and repeat buying.
  • Collaborate with and incentivise your online community so they will want to pass on referrals.


  • Be aware of cultural differences.
  • Personalise your approach with tailored messaging during religious and festive occasions.
  • Advertise and promote respectfully. Avoid cynicism, shock and offensive tactics.

Entering into new markets, especially the Middle East, requires experience and understanding of how local business is done.

Are you preparing to export?

Whether you are an experienced exporter or exploring export opportunities for the first time, it's critical to understand what is required and to stay up to date. Our friendly team can guide you through the process of obtaining the right export documents you require to ensure smooth customs clearance and facilitate duty exemptions.


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