Issue 63: The e-commerce boom in the last decade has created unprecedented opportunities for businesses in the GCC

Since the dawn of 2011, the new decade has hailed an era of new inventions and ground-breaking innovations in the digital space. The rise in e-commerce for example had a profound impact on how businesses have maintained operations in its constant quest to navigate the ebbs and flows of the COVID-19 pandemic, embracing virtual spaces and moving away from the traditional brick and mortar.

E-commerce continues to carve out a significant share of the global trade; recording a 3 percent spike from 14 percent in 2017 to 17 percent in 2020. Looking closer to home, the e-commerce sector in the GCC is rapidly growing in value from a mere AED 18.3 billion in 2015 to over AED 88.1 billion today – another clear indication of a continuous uptick in demand over the next decade. According to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, the value of retail e-commerce in the UAE reached a record AED 14.3 billion in 2020, a 53 percent year-over-year increase.

These growth projections are what led us to explore opportunities to keep up with changes in business landscapes. For example, our ability to leverage Jafza, the first and largest free zone ecosystem for logistics and trade, in terms of its strategic location, multi-modal connectivity to both Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) and Jebel Ali Port, has unlocked vast opportunities for cross-border e-commerce activities.

Business and life post-pandemic have been predominantly steered by an ever-growing technology footprint, as work from home and metaverses continue to become our ‘new normal’. The region, in particular, has become a launch pad for some of the most successful digital services companies, owing to policies and regulations created by the authorities.

Moreover, the rise in online purchases during the pandemic has dictated a trend in consumer purchasing behaviours, thus presenting a need for robust digital infrastructures to manage secure and reliable transactions and keep up with the massive consumer traffic. With that in mind and recognising the unlocked potential that the African market presents to drive economic growth, we utilised, our global wholesale e-commerce platform to unlock trade opportunities between Africa and other global markets for SMEs. also provides significant benefits to retail and wholesale traders in the UAE who are in a prime position to leverage the boom in online demand for goods.

In 2020, through a strategic initiative with Dragon Mart, DP World supported the launch of an e-commerce platform to bring the largest B2B and B2C wholesale marketplace in Dubai with more than 35,000 products now available on the platform. Another significant initiative has been the Dubai Traders’ Market, which offers a hybrid retail and wholesale marketplace for businesses to carry out trade. The Market can accommodate over 20,000 traders and tenants and will give businesses access to cutting-edge trading infrastructure and technology.

This is merely a snapshot of all the opportunities we’ve ventured into, in our quest to turn challenges into opportunities for growth. Understanding the current market realities is what propelled us to embed digitisation as an integral cog to our operations and how we do business. I can say without a doubt that this is a true testament to DP World being future ready, aligned with the UAE’s mandate to transform the country to a global hub for technology and logistics in the future

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