Ecommerce continues to take over global commerce with every year that passes, and the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region is no different. MENA is a unique region in that it spans three continents- Europe, Africa, and Asia. Its huge diversity in resources, population, and economic development lends the region to both success and interest in e-commerce and online shopping, and while some countries in MENA already have solid e-commerce bases, others are just getting started.
Widely, e-commerce is the buying and selling of goods using the internet. Goods can mean anything- from clothing items to wholesale machine parts, to cosmetics, electronics, and more. The convenience and accessibility of e-commerce make it popular with a young population, and nearly 30% of the MENA population are between the ages of 15 and 29. This is a market booming with potential.
The market is currently being propelled by three main countries- Egypt, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia, the three of which form cumulatively 80% of the region’s e-commerce market. Though culturally very disparate countries, the digital economies of these three players continue to grow, especially through the novel COVID-19 Pandemic, which further exacerbated the demand for digital commerce worldwide. To provide an overview of the digital economy in the MENA region, we’ve broken the top most-pupular popular e-commerce and shopping websites in the region down in the following article, both regionally and internationally.
Regional Ecommerce Sites
The following sites are e-commerce and shopping websites that cater specifically to countries in the MENA region.
Noon.com is an online retailer of many different products, including technology, home appliances, beauty products, and more. Founded in 2017, and headquartered in Dubai, this site has a presence across the Middle East. It ranks the 2nd most popular e-commerce site in the UAE.
Monthly visits to Noon come in at 14.7 million. If you’ve spent any significant amount of time in the Middle East, you’ve probably heard it come up in conversation at least once or twice.
Headquartered in Dubai, Namshi is a top retailer for kids, women, and men’s clothing and fashion items in the Middle East. They boast over 550 different brands of footwear, apparel, and fashion, allowing many international brands to reach the Middle Eastern market.
Founded in 2010, Namshi sees 2.0 million visits a month, though that number has been on the decline in recent months due to seasonality. Still, Namshi stands out as one of the top 25 most visited e-commerce sites in the MENA region.
Jarir is an online bookstore that also sells electronics and home goods. The bookstore itself was founded in 1979 but has grown and evolved with the times.
Headquartered in Riyadh, Jarir brings in between 9 and 10 million visits a month, with 9.3 million most recently, making it a household name in the MENA region.
eXtra is a Saudia Arabian shopping site that ranks fifth in the country’s e-commerce use. Like many of the other sites on this list, it is a distributor of home appliances, electronics, and personal items.
At 5.1 million visits a month the fair amount of traffic eXtra garners earns it a place on our list.
Ranked the number one most visited e-commerce site in Egypt, and headquartered in Cairo, Jumia dominates the e-commerce scene in Egypt. The site hosts a plethora of different goods- from electronics to household items, it functions much like Amazon in its breadth.
Jumia is actually a pan-African company, but it is popular among Middle Eastern countries as well. The monthly visits are lower than Noon.com, coming in at 3.5 million for Egypt, but are more concentrated in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Nahdi Online https://www.nahdionline.com/ar/
Nahdi Online is the online pharmacy of Nahdi, a Saudi Arabian medical and pharmaceutical company. Nahdi aims to adapt to our increasingly virtual society, revolutionizing healthcare with e-consultations and widespread delivery of health products at the click of a button.
Clearly, this vision pays off, as Nahdi ranks #1 in its category in Saudi Arabia, and brings in 2.1 million visits a month.
B Tech https://btech.com/
B Tech is an online marketplace for computers and technology founded and based in Egypt. The company was founded in 1997 but has adapted with the times to develop an e-commerce site that garnered 1.9 million this month. The company sees customers in Saudi Arabia as well.
El Araby Group https://www.elarabygroup.com/ar
El Araby is another online marketplace for electronics and home appliances. The company dates back to 1964 and was founded and headquartered in Egypt.
The site brings in 1.4 million visits monthly but its ranking in terms of electronics and technology distributors in Egypt is relatively low. Still, this historical company is an important player in the e-commerce scene of the Middle East.
Max Fashion https://www.maxfashion.com/eg/ar/
If you’ve traveled to the Middle East, you’re sure to have heard of Max Fashion. This Emirati brand has a reputation as a top retailer for clothes in the region, with popularity especially in Egypt and the UAE.
Launched in 2004, the company has an impressive online presence, garnering over a million visits per month, landing 1.3 million visits a month. In Saudi Arabia, it is also the 6th most popular online clothing and lifestyle retailer.
Raneen is another online superstore that focuses mostly on electronics and homeware but also provides children’s toys, beauty care, medical supplies, and more. It was recently founded in 2020 and is also headquartered in Egypt.
Raneen hovers at around 1 million visits per month, with 859.1 thousand most recently. It’s certainly not at the top of our list, but it’s an important player in the e-commerce world of the Middle East, and still has the potential to grow.
Nice One https://niceonesa.com/ar/
Nice One is an online retailer for beauty and hair products, as well as beauty appliances and home accessories. This Saudi Arabian beauty company was founded in 2016 and helps residents of the MENA region stay on top of international trends.
The site garners 800.5k a month. This may not seem like a not compared to the broader online markets listed above, but it ranks third in its category for e-commerce in Saudi Arabia alone.
Haraj’s site ranks 8th most popular e-commerce shopping site in Saudi Arabia and 4th most popular mobile app. The site is much like Craigslist, where users can post classifieds with goods to offer and buyers can respond to ads. The Saudi Arabian site pulls in 271k visits a month.
Global E-commerce and Shopping Websites with Popularity in the Middle East
These sites reach beyond the MENA region to serve global markets, but have high traffic from the MENA region and fall into the top used e-commerce and shopping sites in the region, along with their regional counterparts.
AliExpress is an online retail service owned by Alibaba and based in China. It offers a broad range of products from home items, to electronics, clothes, and more. Founded in 2009, AliExpress racks in considerably more monthly visits than the original Alibaba, at around 399.7 million visits tracking monthly. It is the 7th most popular e-commerce app in Lebanon, with similar ratings across the MENA region.
Alibaba is a Chinese e-commerce company that specializes in retail, internet, and technology. They are known for providing wholesale products at cheap prices with global shipping.
Popular with small businesses, Alibaba is the 20th most popular e-commerce site worldwide, pulling in 92.8 million visits a month.
Amazon’s global domination of e-commerce is no different in the MENA region. Over the past several years, Souq.com, previously the primary e-commerce state in the Arab world, was bought out by Amazon, which now operates under its own name in the MENA region.
In Saudi Arabia, Amazon garners between 7.9 million visits a month, in Egypt 8.7 million, and in the UAE 17.3 million. It ranks in the top 3 e-commerce sites in its category for all three countries. Amazon’s foray into the MENA region is a predictable success.
LC Waikiki https://www.lcwaikiki.eg/
LC Waikiki is a Turkish clothing brand with stores placed on nearly every continent, but with an especially strong presence in the Middle East. The website garners 12-16 million visits per month, with 12.4 million most recently, many of those from Middle Eastern countries.
The brand is known for fashionable clothing items sold at reasonable prices. The fact that it’s at the top of the list for clothing retail brands online in several Middle Eastern countries is indicative of the fact that they deliver on this promise.
The persistence of the sneaker trend decade-through-decade necessitates the presence of a sneaker retailer on this list. Dating all the way back to the 1940s, Adidas’ popularity has certainly reached the MENA region.
The UAE site, which services the region, sees 296.3k visits a month, more than other shoe and athletic wear retailers in the region. These numbers put Adidas in the top e-commerce sites in the MENA region, an impressive feat for a single-brand online store.
The world-famous H&M is a Swedish clothing company with a massive global presence that has a heavy hand in the Middle East fashion retailer scene. Their site is popular for e-commerce across the MENA region. The Egyptian site alone garners 239.5 thousand visits a month, and the H&M app is a top mobile shopping app throughout the Middle East.
Makeup giant Sephora has a significant presence in the Middle East. Their online store is the #1 Beauty and Cosmetics online retailer in the UAE, and #7 in Saudi Arabia.
A French company founded in 1970, Sephora has massive popularity on a global scale for beauty and makeup products. Their site garners 226k visits a month in the UAE, though this number is lower than in previous months, likely due to the New Year passing.
OLX is a buying and selling site and app much like Kijiji or Craigslist. It’s a Dutch-based company headquartered in Amsterdam but has gained immense probability throughout the Middle East.
The OLX site is the #2 most common shopping and classifieds app in Oman and the OLX Arabia app is popular throughout the Middle East.
Shein is a low-cost online fashion retailer founded in China that has gained recent popularity on social media apps such as TikTok and Instagram. Their products are sold in nearly 200 countries, and the MENA region is no exception.
The Shein mobile app ranks 7th most popular shopping app on the Google Play store in Egypt and 2nd in the UAE. They released a menswear collection in the Middle East in 2021, which kickstarted much of their success in the region.
Carrefour, a multinational company based in France, is a prominent grocery and home items retailer in the Middle East. Its largest store worldwide is located in Doha, spanning over 11,000 meters squared.
Carrefour’s mobile shopping app is the 7th most used mobile shopping app in the UAE, with similar rankings across the MENA region.
What e-commerce list could be complete without IKEA? The Swedish furniture company, whose modern furniture designs continue to infiltrate every corner of the world, has a strong presence in the Middle East as well.
IKEA is in the top ten Home and Garden retailers in the United Arab Emirates, despite having higher prices than many other stores in the region.
Home Centre https://www.homecentre.com/
Home Centre is a retailer of home furnishings, decorations, and supplies that has a global reach. Offering blinds, flooring, paint, and more, their online store is popular throughout the MENA region. The Home Centre online app is the 20th most popular e-commerce app in the UAE.
The most popular Middle Easter e-commerce and shopping websites listed above are only a taste of what the booming online market in the MENA region has to offer. With such a diverse set of countries, and customs, and a large youthful population, there is a large pool of demand and interest for developing online commerce in the region. Browsing this list should give some insight into what’s there, what’s missing, what’s working, and what needs work, to help you infiltrate the market and make your mark on the region.
*Traffic numbers in this article were sourced from SimilarWeb for January 2022.