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Significant potential of growth in Qatar’s e-com market: PwC

Significant potential of growth in Qatar’s e-com market: PwC

Satyendra Pathak
Doha
The online shopping market still has a significant potential to grow in Qatar as there is a strong mobile connectivity and internet usage in the country, according to a presentation made by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) at a webinar entitled ‘Emerging Technologies in eCommerce’ on Monday.
“This is evident from the fact that the eCommerce penetration in Qatar is only 37 percent, leaving ample room for growth in the future,” the PwC presentation said.
As per PwC, the total population of Qatar as of August 2020 is 2.73 million out of which 99 percent are active mobile internet users.
There is a suitable demographic for eCommerce (e-com) to grow in the country as almost 86 percent of the total population is in the age group of 15 years to 64 years, it said.
“Around 1.84 million people have an account with a financial institution with 32 percent having a credit card. There are more than 400 e-commerce companies in Qatar and the number of shoppers who have purchased a product or service online in the past 12 months is 37 percent of the total population,” it said.
In 2019, PwC said, nearly 32 percent of the online buyers preferred buying food, groceries, airline travel and lifestyle related products. Further, it is seen that eCommerce is growing beyond clothing and electronics, as local retailers are exploring new operational areas.
Highlighting five key challenges that exist across the eCommerce value chain in Qatar, it said, “The market lacks strong integration as 50 percent consumers find the ordering process to be lengthy. Local SMEs lack proper order management, forecasting and live inventory updates. Almost 45 percent of consumers who shop online state that there are limited options to return the product.”
Most consumers prefer cash-on-delivery, followed by credit card, PayPal. However, 46 percent of consumers feel that the payment options are still limited.
“There are limited options for delivery partners in Qatar as delivery time is an important component that contributes to poor customer service. There are immense opportunities to use innovation for creating value as 46 percent of consumers who shop online believe that there is a lack of product variety,” it said.
The PwC said in the presentation that these challenges can be mitigated through 10 key focus actions like investing in development of mobile apps, adoption of one-click payment to optimise ordering process, integration of key components of the supply chain using cloud based systems, real-time inventory tracking and forecasting to fulfill orders quickly.
It also suggested adopting new payment methods like e-wallets and NFC, investing in IoT based technologies with payment services as a lead feature.
“Feature development such as live tracking need to be made mandatory and launch of drone based delivery with cash on delivery feature will improve the overall user experience with the adoption of AR / VR to drive transactions,” it said.
Introduction of chatbots and image search based technologies can enhance the shopping experience, it said.
PwC said that COVID-19 has highlighted that current emerging technology can improve eCommerce business outcome as they are impacting business models and consumers’ behaviours globally.
“And when incorporated, it can enhance the overall consumer experience and drive efficiency in the business. With the growth of VR, eCommerce stores are now creating a realistic shopping experience for their customers, and one that customers will find hard to forget,” it said.
PwC Qatar Procurement and Supply Chain Leader Bashar El Jawhari, PwC Qatar Senior Director Siddarth Sibal and PwC Middle East Director Yash V Arya addressed the seminar.

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