Research released last year valued e-commerce transactions across Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries at US$ 5.3 billion in 2015. That figure is expected to exceed US$ 20 billion by 2020, with the rise of urban, educated, and younger populations driving increased online activity.
In Saudi Arabia, the outlook is particularly dynamic. Saudi millennials tend to be higher spenders than their global peers, and technology is an essential part of their lives: they spend an average of 4.5 hours online every day.
As new security technologies enhance online consumer confidence and more of the country’s population is given access to payment cards (67 percent of all payments in Saudi Arabia remain cash-based), many retailers are preparing for a major shift in consumer attitudes and behaviours.
“The internet has opened up the country,” says P. Venkat, Managing Director of Abdul Latif Jameel Electronics. “People in this part of the world are very tech savvy… I can see Saudi Arabia going through the same evolution in e-commerce as countries like the UK did a decade ago.”
With this changing landscape comes a raft of new commercial opportunities for retailers who can adapt. Currently, cash-on-delivery forms 85 per cent of online payments in Saudi Arabia. However, this inefficient business model could soon be vastly reduced and replaced with more advanced methods – particularly in a region where smartphone penetration is already at 65 percent.
Abdul Latif Jameel has acknowledged the opportunities ahead, and has invested in and launched a trio of businesses ready to shape the next generation of retail.
Redsea.com is aiming to be one of Saudi Arabia’s leading electronics retailers. Launched in March 2017, it will combine global brands with affordable prices across electronics, appliances and air conditioning units.
It will use Abdul Latif Jameel Electronics’ expertise and experience of more than 35 years to help it provide a convenient, warm, and straight-forward customer experience.
Abdul Latif Jameel the global service partner for FedEx in Saudi Arabia – is also bringing innovation to the country’s e-commerce scene by offering users the chance to shop in the U.S. market. When a customer registers with MySaudiStore.com, the site automatically provides the user with a personal U.S. postage address.
All goods are then delivered to that U.S. address before being shipped to the user’s nearest FedEx branch in Saudi Arabia – meaning deliveries from sites like Amazon, Sears, Best Buy, eBay and Target are all now conveniently accessible to the Saudi population.
Abdul Latif Jameel continues to innovate in the industry where it started. Alaslia.com provides next-day delivery of genuine parts, accessories and motor oil for Toyota and Lexus vehicles. ‘Al aslia’ is the Arabic for ‘original’ and signifies the genuine manufacturer provenance of the products available to keep the customer’s vehicle as the manufacturer intended. Orders can be placed 24/7, with all parts sourced direct from Abdul Latif Jameel.
Alaslia.com was launched by the Abdul Latif Jameel Aftermarket Operations team and Abdul Latif Jameel Toyota Saudi Arabia. It provides an outstanding service to busy, price or safety-conscious motorists, as well as repairers and retail outlets.
By offering the widest range of Toyota and Lexus parts in Saudi Arabia, Alaslia.com hopes to become the first thought for customers in need anywhere in the country. As many car accidents are caused by fake or counterfeit spare parts all over the world, Alaslia.com is also ideally positioned to help make a genuinely positive impact to the country’s road safety, tying into other initiatives in this area by Community Jameel.
E-commerce is changing how retail operates around the world. Now, it is Saudi Arabia’s turn to take centre stage – and Abdul Latif Jameel will be there to help shape this exciting transition for the benefit of its partners, and of Saudi society.
1 Getting In On The GCC E-Commerce Game, A.T. Kearney, August 2016
2 Understanding The Millennial Mind-Set – And What It Means For Payments In The GCC, Visa Performance Solutions CEMEA, July 2016
3 Getting In On The GCC E-Commerce Game, A.T. Kearney, August 2016