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The United Arab Emirates is the biggest player in the Arab e-commerce market

 According to eShopWorld, more than 83% of 8.2 million Internet users make purchases online, and 60% of online shoppers live in Dubai. Expats working in the country make up 70% of online buyers, while native people of the UAE – only 30%. Due to the large number of visitors, the key language of the region (including the Internet) is not only Arabic, but also English. Mainly, men make purchases (60% of the customers of online stores), although the proportion of women is steadily growing (now it is about 40%).

Luxury tastes

The high purchasing power of the MENA region (and the UAE in particular) is a key factor of a high average amount, which is significantly bigger than in any other country in the world. In the UAE, this figure reaches $480, largely due to the high demand for luxury goods (men's accessories are leading here; Dubai imports from 800,000 to 1 million watches a year from Switzerland). Currently, Arab countries rank ninth by demand for luxury goods, but every year the region rises higher and higher in this list. 

Customers and their activity

Another feature of the Arab countries is the generation of millennials, who are the most active Internet users and at the same time have much higher purchasing power than their peers from other countries. According to an eShopWorld study, about 64% of the UAE’s population is under 31, with a median age of just over 25 years. They are the main Internet users and online shoppers.

According to GoGulf, residents of the United Arab Emirates prefer to make purchases in foreign stores, so 30% of purchases are made in American online stores, 18% – in English, 18% – in Indian, and another quarter – in the shops of the Middle East and North Africa.

The main consumer activity peaks are at the end of Ramadan (from late spring to early summer) and on White Friday (White Friday is an alternative to American Black Friday).

M-commerce and affiliate in the UAE

Despite the fact that now the majority of users in the UAE actively make mobile purchases, in CPA affiliate marketing, actions are still carried out to a great extent from desktop computers. However, as for some product categories, the proportion of devices used varies, and both the average amount and publishers' income can vary considerably, including in favor of iOS and Android devices.

Share of sales by platform, %

Nevertheless, there are product categories in which most of the purchases are made through smartphones and tablets. Generally, iOS dominates the market.

Number of purchases, by month

The customer activity peak in the UAE falls on the beginning of summer. First of all, it is related with the Islamic holiday of Eid-al-Fitr, which is celebrated in honor of the end of fasting in the month of Ramadan. The second peak is at the end of November: “White Friday” is celebrated on these days. Similar to the American Black Friday, this period (from one to several days) is the time of global sales.

Average ticket, by month

The average ticket declines in January, reaching its minimum during Ramadan: during this period, Muslims observe fasting and refrain from excess, including spending on online shopping. By mid-summer, the amount of shopping baskets increases up to $200 – one of the highest figures in the world.

Advertisers’ total sales, by traffic type

The highest advertisers' income comes from purchases made on coupon sites. Contextual ads and cashback services which allow returning a part of the spent amount rank second. The stores operating on the dropshipping model, websites (here are placed both banners, and just affiliate links) and content projects such as blogs with reviews rank third.