According to a study by PayFort and e-grocery startup, there has been a 35% monthly growth in online grocery business in Saudi Arabia. Despite limitations such as order limits and costly delivery charges, it seems like e-commerce in KSA is starting to rise. Naturally, young people (millennials and centennials) and Saudi Arabian women who cannot drive and so are restricted in terms of travelling for grocery shopping are shopping online the most.

Given the increase in number of online shoppers, the study predicts further increase in online groceries in KSA.

However, these are not the only reasons for this significant rise in online shopping. Product quality, price, assortment and efficiency in delivery are very important factors when it comes to e-commerce.

Over 75% of the online grocery shopping in Saudi Arabia happens on their mobile devices.

Speaking of online shopping, Instagram is becoming more and more popular in GCC countries. According to Arabian Social Media Report 2015, UAE is the most active country on Instagram in MENA region, followed by Bahrain and Morocco.  

But more and more people in the Gulf are using Instagram for promoting handmade crafts and products.

In other words, more and more young people in the Gulf region are using Instagram for e-commerce.

There are even platforms, such as Shelvies that archive Saudi online brands so people can choose and purchase  more easily.  That being said, it is clear that Instagram can be used as an online shop, and very successfully too.

However, there is a downside to this story. As Wamda reported, there are some entrepreneurs who don’t really see Instagram as e-commerce tool. “Instagram was not built to be an ecommerce platform; this hugely complicates the task of selling goods online,” says Lulwa AlSoudairy, founder and CEO of Artistia.  “But people use it when they have no other option,” Lulwa added.

That’s why Artistia created an online community that allows users to buy crafts from Middle Eastern makers and artists. Artistia also helps the entrepreneurs by offering them assistance in selling and promoting their products to customers in the region and internationally.

Online shopping is nothing new in the world. Going to the stores and losing hours in traffic can be quite frustrating, and no one knows how frustrating losing time can be better than young people. E-commerce in Saudi Arabia is in its beginning today, and it is using all available channels, including Instagram. Considering the fact that Instagram uses photos and short descriptions, it is not so surprising that many young entrepreneurs use this social media to promote their products, even though Instagram is not meant to be an e-commerce tool. At the end of the day, it’s all about making customers’ lives easier and making profit of it.


For more information on Saudi grocery e-commerce habits, check the Infographic below (via Entrepreneur)


1461679455_Grocery Infographic