As most other African countries embrace it, ecommerce in Egypt is still struggling to gain a foothold in the nation. This is despite how lucrative the market could be in the near future.
At the moment, penetration of ecommerce in Egypt is still a poultry 3.4%, but in a country with a population 82 million strong, that still translates to $443 million according to Euromonitor. The rate of ecommerce in Egypt is expected to increase exponentially now that the country is stabilizing after political upheavals.
What’s behind slowed ecommerce in Egypt
The country is still widely undeveloped, with poor infrastructure and telecoms, plus the people themselves being fairly computer illiterate. Ecommerce, by definition requires that the people be conversant with the internet, and computers, but the lack of it has seen the service going untapped.
Illiteracy spreads farther from technology, most of the residents are illiterate and only 10% of Egyptians held bank accounts in 2010. The rest of the population largely consists of underage children who can’t hold a bank account. Furthermore, for those who held bank accounts, less than 4% had debit cards and less than 2% were issued a credit card. Without these, it was difficult to make use of ecommerce in Egypt.
At the end of the tunnel
Following political turmoil around 2011, Egypt has been rapidly catching up to the rest of Africa, and there has been a sharp increase in internet penetration in the country. The increased use of smartphones, too, has contributed to this rise of ecommerce in Egypt, with 41% of online transactions being carried out through mobile devices. Ecommerce has also been adapted for paying bills, with 22.5% using it to pay their bills.
Ecommerce solutions that work in Egypt
- Credit cards: Egyptian banks have also started issuing credit cards to account holders to allow them to transact online.
- PayPal: one of the largest ecommerce solutions in the world is now active in Egypt allowing for online transactions and money transfers worldwide.
These services have enabled Egyptians to become true E-Gyptians by making use of ecommerce. There is still a long way to go, though, as most residents still lack faith in the system and may still be wary of it, but, baby steps.