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Domestic and Preferred Card Schemes

In the UAE, we expect that credit cards will account for 65 per cent of retail payment volumes by 2018.

E-commerce generated US$2.5 billion in payment volume on Visa cards alone last year in the Arabian Gulf and is expected to grow at 25 per cent this year, as it did last year, led by millennials, according to a study from Visa.[1]

Alternative Payment Methods

Cash on delivery remains the preferred method of payment for many customers, an option that is offered by, the most high-profile regional online retailer.[2]

Other Payment Methods


Digital Invoicing


Customer Experience


Payments Regulation


Local entities

the online shopping market in the UAE is led by a local company. Based in the UAE, operates across a number of countries and holds a high double-digit share in its domestic market.[3]

Mobile payments



Even as the warehousing sector tries to adjust to emerging needs, more change could be on its way. “First, there will be the growth generated by the trade throughputs, then comes the quality issues that the industry will need to address for the cold chain and pharma industries,” said Frederic Zielinski, General Manager at Swisslog M. E., the specialist supply chain solutions company. “Then comes ecommerce’s need for on-time deliveries ... this region is still at the beginning of this revolution. The logistics and warehousing will have some running to do to catch up.”[4]


The Heera Group recently commissioned a production and warehousing facility at Sharjah Airport International Free Zone for its twin ecommerce ventures, one of which (, selling women’s apparel and consumer durables) has gone live. The second (, for its ‘Heera’ branded food products) should go live after the summer. Indeed, warehouses have been one of the most coveted assets for investors in the last 12-18 months. Locations such as Dubai Investments Park and Dubai Industrial City, Kizad in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah’s Saif Zone have been beneficiaries of this interest.[5]

Import Duties





Affluent millennials are key to e-commerce growth in the UAE and Saudi Arabia in a region where cash is still king.[6]

Social Media


Major shopping categories

Preferred product categories for cross-border shopping are travel and transportation products from overseas websites (43%), followed by clothing / apparel, footwear and accessories (40%).[7]

Major retail holidays


Legal / Regulatory


FX Policies



The UAE had one of the highest Internet, mobile phone and smartphone penetration rates across the Middle East and Africa in 2015. The spread of the Internet-enabled mobile devices especially contributes to the growth of the mobile shopping market in the UAE.[8]



Mobile appetite

As of early 2015, mobile phone was used by a larger share of Internet users than any other device to connect to the web.[9]


  1. The National "UAE and Saudi Millenials to drive e-commerce growth"
  2. Oxford Business Group "E-commerce grows in Dubai and across GCC"
  3. ystats "UAE B2C E-Commerce Market 2016"
  4. Gulf News "Ecommerce Gets UAE to do the Heavylifting"
  5. Gulf News "Ecommerce Gets UAE to do the Heavylifting"
  6. The National "UAE and Saudi Millenials to drive e-commerce growth"
  7. The Paypers "Crossborder eCommerce: UAE"
  8. ystats "UAE B2C E-Commerce Market 2016"
  9. ystats "UAE B2C E-Commerce Market 2016"