A tough fight between e-commerce giants in the region has just started.
Noon.com launched its website this week with discounted prices on the occasion of its new opening, prompting Souq.com, owned by Amazon, to slash its prices in a bid to compete.
Souq.com slashed the prices of some of its key products, including Apple items and other IT hardware, in addition to reducing its shipping rates, while cutting the amount that should be paid by consumers to get free shipping.
Where will this competition lead?
Both titans seem to be quite confident to have an upper hand in the e-commerce market in the region especially that they both have a strong understanding of the regional market, as well as recent technological advances, especially the growth of digital.
“As digital technologies cause disruptions across industries and geographies, it is important for us to shape a digital marketplace that is relevant to our local markets and serves as a growth platform for brick-and-mortar retailers,” says Noon founder Mohammed Alabbar.
On the other hand, according to Russ Grandinetti, Amazon senior vice president for international consumers, Souq.com’s takeover will help the US-based firm to become an e-commerce pioneer in the Middle East, creating a great shopping experience for customers.
“We are looking forward to both learning from and supporting them with Amazon technology and global resources,” The Financial Times quoted Grandinetti as saying, following the takeover.
Will there be a winner?
The fierce competition between the two e-commerce giants does not have to result in one winner since each has strengths on its own.
For instance, Noon is trying to build on the fact that it’s an Arabic brand.
“We are proud to take this important first step in our journey and we are committed to making Noon the region’s Arabic-first e-commerce platform,” says Alabbar.
“We are establishing strategic partnerships with an extensive range of regional retailers, distributors and global brands. These partnerships will allow Noon to provide its customers with a broad catalogue of product across categories. With Noon, we aim to deliver an e-commerce platform that creates long-term economic value, is truly relevant to the region and supports its home-grown enterprises,” he pointed out.
On the other hand, some market analysts believe that it’s hard for Noon to beat Souq.com which already gets approximately 23 million online visits in a month.
It’s only natural to witness a fierce competition between two e-commerce giants offering the same products and catering to the same region.
However, can’t they both coexist?
With the Gulf e-commerce market expected to be worth $20 billion by 2020, according to global consultancy firm AT Kearney, it does seem like there’s enough for everyone.
AT Kearney says that the region can be considered as an inviting market for e-commerce, since it is home to many people with large disposable incomes and has some of the world’s highest levels of GDP per capita.
But are there any benefits for consumers?
Definitely. The competition between the two platforms will lead to discounted prices and more offers to come in the near future. Meaning in the end there is one winner: the consumer.