04 February 2008

e-commerce in Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi, UAE exceeded $4.87 bn

Beirut - e-commerce volume exceeded US $4.87 billion in Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and UAE in 2007. Lebanon registered the highest expenditure per user , but the UAE highest per capita expenditure.

The Arab Advisors Group analysis of e-commerce expenditure in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Lebanon is based on major online and face to face surveys conducted by Arab Advisors Group during 2007.

Total number of e-commerce users in these four countries exceeded 5.1 million people in 2007.

During the second half of 2007, the Arab Advisors Group conducted several major analytical surveys which separately covered Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Lebanon. The surveys of Kuwait and Lebanon involved face-to-face interviews with respondents from different households in the different governorates of the two countries, selected randomly in a manner proportionate to the estimated population split per governorate. Respondents in those two surveys were 15 years old and above, and were cellular service users. Those surveys provide deep insights into the telecom usage patterns in Kuwait and Lebanon. The random surveys have a 99% confidence level with a less than 6% margin of error.

As for the surveys of Saudi Arabia and UAE, these were conducted online. Respondents received an email shot in their inbox to ask them to fill the survey and answer questions online. Both surveys were conducted on the general Internet population, including both genders and all age groups across the two countries. The request to fill the survey was sent randomly to a database of Internet users in the Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Those two online surveys yield a confidence level of 99% with a margin of error of less than 3%.

'The UAE's e-commerce users penetration was the highest among the countries studied. The UAE's e-commerce users' penetration stood at 25.1%. Saudi Arabia (14.3%) and Kuwait (10.7%) followed while Lebanon had the lowest penetration of e-commerce users with 1.6% of the total population,' Mr. Andrawes Snobar, Arab Advisors Sr. Research Analyst and team leader, commented.

The UAE also had the highest average amount spent per capita over one year. As for Lebanon, it had the lowest e-commerce expenditure per capita per year and per month due to a low penetration of e-commerce users in the country. However, Lebanon registered the highest e-commerce expenditure per e-commerce users. The Arab Advisors Group believes that the e-commerce users in Lebanon are in the pioneer/early adopter categories hence tend to be much wealthier and better educated than the rest of the population translating into higher spending per e-commerce user.

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Lebanon Time-Line

Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.