Majority of MENA, Pakistan consumers prefer digital payment methods for ecommerce: report
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Majority of MENA, Pakistan consumers prefer digital payment methods for ecommerce: report

Majority of MENA, Pakistan consumers prefer digital payment methods for ecommerce: report

The report estimates that 209m more customers in MENA and Pakistan have begun shopping online since the start of the pandemic

Divsha Bhat

According to the annual MENA and Pakistan payments report by, 60 per cent of consumers in the region now prefer to pay for ecommerce via a digital payment methods – a 20 per cent increase since 2020.

The report notes exponential growth in the ecommerce market throughout MENA and Pakistan year on year. In 2020, 47 per cent of consumers said that they expected to shop online more frequently over 2021. This year, approximately 83 per cent say that they will maintain or even increase their current level of ecommerce spending into 2022, suggesting an irrevocable shift in consumer behaviour.

This rise in digital commerce has been matched by greater sophistication in the region’s digital payments ecosystem. Payment methods such as cash-on-delivery and bank transfers have once again seen a decrease year-on-year.

This shift has been especially pervasive for the convenience economy, with everyday items such as food delivery, groceries, and household goods firm favourites. The report also finds an increase in the frequency of online shopping among consumers, with nearly half (45 per cent) of those surveyed saying they shop online at least once a month. Moreover, 53 per cent say that they are doing more of their shopping online now compared with before the Covid-19 pandemic started. Earlier this year, 76 per cent of consumers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia said that they anticipated purchasing products and services online more frequently during peak season’s like Ramadan.

This is also giving way to newer methods of paying, including digital wallets, in-app social shopping, and buy now pay later (BNPL) options.’s global data in 2021 suggests that the MENAP region is actually outpacing regions such as Europe and APAC for the adoption of in-app social shopping and BNPL. Today, three in four (76 per cent) consumers in the region report using some form of fintech app in the past year, with 81 percent feeling they directly benefit from the growing fintech sector.

“ has operated in the region since 2014 and has played a privileged role to enable eCommerce to flourish, offering a unified payment experience across all major markets in MENA. This has given us a unique vantage point across the market, with our 2021 report highlighting how much growth has been condensed into 12 short months – a testament to progressive government policies and forward-thinking governments who are opening up the region, harnessing the growth potential of fintech, and responding to the changing habits and expectations of their populations,” said Mo Ali Yusuf, regional manager for MENAP at

Another sign of the region’s maturing ecommerce and digital payment industries is a sustained increase in cross-border commerce. Merchants who offer both international payment channels and popular local payment methods are enabling countries in the region to contribute to global value chains more effectively, according to the report. Approximately 85 per cent of consumers in the region have made online purchases from brands and retailers outside of their home country in the past 12 months, with a third (33 per cent) citing cross-border shopping as their number one reason for shopping online.

Yusuf continues: “For the first time, our data shows us that MENAP has begun to outperform European markets in the adoption of emerging payment methods. This presents a phenomenal opportunity for global and domestic merchants to expand their businesses across MENA.”

Leading voices within the region’s business community add perspective to these issues as part of this year’s report. Case studies and issues-based opinions are featured from organisations such as Careem, OSN, Fawry, Tamara, the MENA Fintech Association, Visa and others, underscoring the importance of creative collaborations in advancing digital commerce.

Read: UAE consumers claim brands have one shot to impress them

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