Doha: Due to innovative IT sector, effects of COVID-19 pandemic, change in shopping behaviours among other factors, Qatar’s e-commerce market is expanding exponentially as over 60 new e-commerce platforms emerged in the country in the last six months.
In June this year, there were 350 websites registered with the e-commerce directory of the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) while this number has grown to 416 e-commerce websites now. The exponential growth indicates more companies are opting to utilise the scope of online retail market.
A number of e-commerce websites are of the companies which employ hybrid model like well-known hypermarkets, restaurants, pharmacies, apparel outlets while there are many online-only commerce platforms serving in travel, tourism, and other sectors.
A survey conducted by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, with the help of Global Market Research Company ‘Ipsos’, showed that 60% of consumers in Qatar have a desire to shop online, MoTC had said last year.
According to official estimates, the Business-to-Consumer e-commerce market in Qatar, ranked the seventh largest online market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in 2015 at $1.2bn dollars, is expected to achieve a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17% by 2025.
Along proper e-commerce platforms of companies, many house-based entrepreneurs are also employing social media to market, sell their products. According to a recent report, ‘social commerce’ is also growing in Qatar at the same pace as the country’s booming e-commerce industry, and is now estimated to be worth $22m.
Everyday, the number of merchants selling items through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, and other social media platforms is increasing. And the number of social commerce merchants is expected to further increase with the upcoming World Cup 2022, which will be an ideal opportunity for entrepreneurs to sell more products.
The MoTC had launched ‘Theqa’, a new website of Qatar’s e-commerce gateway last year. The launch was part of MoTC’s efforts to enhance consumer confidence in the local e-commerce sector and improve the quality of services provided by local online suppliers, in addition to providing traders and shoppers with the latest updates in the sector.
The ‘Theqa’ portal is a non-profit, voluntary government programme which aims at stimulating Qatar’s e-commerce sector and developing local online retail sales by encouraging citizens and residents to trust the country’s e-commerce ecosystem. It also seeks to encourage buyers to use local websites and platforms for effective and safe online shopping, and to provide merchants with the tools, capabilities and skills needed to succeed quickly.