Top Online shopping websites in the Middle East ( ecommerce)
Let’s begin with the biggest online market places in the middle east and north Africa.
Here is a list of the top E-commerce hubs in the Mideast.
Other Ecommerce Websites
Major Ecommerce Websites in United Arab Emirates ( U.A.E)
E-Commerce Stores beyond the Middle East
The following table is a ranking list of the most popular online marketplaces used within the Middle-East:
Middle Eastern Traffic per Month
Key points to take away from this table are:
- Turkish online marketplaces are above the rest, taking the top 3 positions and having a combined monthly audience of 203.7M where the majority of the traffic comes from Turkish customers.
- Souq is a company owned by Amazon. It has gone to being called Amazon in most Middle-Eastern countries, but still goes by the name Souq in Egypt. Amazon therefore has total traffic levels of 48.4M per month (Souq and Amazon combined).
- Noon is the only homegrown online marketplace in the Middle-East, with the majority of its traffic coming from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt.
- Jumia’s headquarters are in Germany (also founded in Germany), where its traffic comes solely from Egypt. Jumia portrays itself as specifically African, meaning that expansion into Arabia is unlikely.
Below is a table showing the sources of the traffic for Trendyol:
Traffic per Month
% of Total
Founded in 2010, Trendyol has established itself as the largest online marketplace in Turkey. It is a general sales store, meaning that you are able to purchase a variety of products, from electronics to jewelry. Currently, the platform has a total of 98,000 sellers and 19.3 million customers, with total sales of 347 million products in 2020.
Trendyol has branched out to different areas of business since its opening. It now has 2 fashion brands under the names of ‘Trendyolmilla’ and ‘Trendyol Man’, where the fashion products are sold in both Turkey and Germany. It also started its own delivery service in 2020 called ‘Trendyol Express’, which boasts a 1-hour delivery time service in some areas of Istanbul. Trendyol also came to a agreement for the acquisition of ‘Dolap’, a marketplace selling 2nd hand items. Dolap had a total seller count of 1.1M in 2018.
Trendyol has also established itself as a market innovator with its ‘Trendyol Tech’, an R&D center. Trendyol Tech’s purpose is for the investigation of different computer technologies, such as data visualization, machine learning etc. It is clear to see how much Trendyol values innovation, as 28% of the company’s total expenditure goes towards this center into R&D.
Trendyol’s success has been recognized throughout the world and is now a major competitor. Alibaba, the largest Chinese e-commerce company, invested near to $750M into Trendyol in 2018, making it the majority shareholder of the company. This brought more global attention to the Turkish marketplace and saw the opening of ‘Amazon Turkey’ the following month. This was a monumental cash insertion for Trendyol, as their total finances were a ‘mere’ $36 million prior to this.
Trendyol prides itself as being a Turkish company, only allowing businesses from Turkey to sell on the platform. Therefore, for foreign companies to sell on it, they’d have to create a local entity or partner up with a local company. Trendyol encourages local businesses to come and sell on the platform, making it as easy as possible to get to grips with its system. It regularly holds training events and has a large knowledge base that sellers are free to access.
Middle East Specific Ecommerce Websites
AMAZON/SOUQ, MIDDLE EAST
Below is a table showing the sources of the traffic for Amazon and Souq combined:
Traffic per Month
% of Total
With the Turkish online marketplace already having such strong competitors, Amazon’s presence there is very small at 7.3M users. It took Amazon 2 years (2018-2020) to generate adequate tech infrastructure and logistics in Turkey before finally being able to offer their Amazon Prime service. This would have been a large expense for Amazon; therefore, they clearly see vast potentials in the country.
In terms of the other Middle-Eastern countries, Amazon is the largest. This is due to their $580M acquisition of Souq in 2017. Originally, Souq was an E-bay-esque company with an auction style sales model, but saw the movement towards the Amazon style fixed-price model and shifted to that it 2010. Within the acquisition deal, Amazon also acquired Souq’s delivery service (previously QExpress) and payment platform (previously Payfort), which have both been converted into the Amazon equivalent.
Souq owned 3 localized websites for UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, but delivers its products to Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait. After being bought out by Amazon, the Saudi Arabia and UAE stores were re-branded as Amazon.sa and Amazon.ae respectively. Souq Egypt is the only store whose brand has been left untouched, however, it seems as if it will likely follow suit soon. All of these stores have now been made available in both English and Arabic.
Amazon is the only online marketplace to have made international selling into Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Persian Gulf states almost barrier free. However, sellers are required to register from scratch as there are no unified accounts for these areas, but Amazon FBA is still available there.
NOON, MIDDLE EAST
Below is a table showing the sources of the traffic for Noon:
Traffic per Month
% of Total
Noon was founded in 2017 by Mohammed Alabbar, the owner of the Emaar Properties. Originally, his intentions were to acquire Souq, as he came in with a bid of a colossal $800M, a bid nearly 40% larger than Amazons, however, the bid was made slightly too late as Souq had already signed an exclusivity contract with Amazon. Emaar Properties is known for developing The Dubai Mall (largest mall in the world) and the Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world), therefore, it is clear to see that finances aren’t a worry for Noon’s founder. It was announced that they currently have a backing of $1 billion from investors, such as ‘The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia’, so with these kinds of capital reserves, it is likely to see vast growth in the near future.
Noon is available in both English and Arabic, but only operates in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and UAE, with sellers having to be registered in one of the 3 countries. Similar to Trenydol, foreign companies will have to either generate a local entity or partner up with a local firm. It is also a general store wholesaler, selling all kinds of products, but it differs in that it has a ‘Dubai Mall Store’ section, which allows customers to search for products in more of a brand-driven way.
Noon also has the bonus for sellers in that it provides a warehousing service known as ‘Fulfilled By Noon’ (FBN), however, it isn’t mandatory to use as sellers are welcome to use their own warehouses if they desire.
OTHER MIDDLE EASTERN ONLINE MARKETPLACES
We have covered the 3 largest companies within the Middle-East (Trendyol, Amazon and Noon), however, there are other competitors in the industry:
N11– This online marketplace boasts monthly traffic levels of 77M, making it Turkey’s 2nd largest online marketplace. It was created in 2013 as a joint venture between Turkey’s ‘Doğuş Group’ and a South Korean company called ‘SK Planet’. N11 is also a general store, therefore sells an array of product types. It hasn’t been made apparent whether international sellers are allowed to sell on N11, however, it allows for international shopping with no delays at customs and rapid delivery speeds.
GittiGidiyor- With monthly traffic levels of 47M, this is Turkeys 3rd largest online marketplace. It is one of Turkey’s earliest starting e-commerce companies, launching their services in 2001 and was acquired by E-bay in 2011. It has adopted a selling method similar to Amazon (fixed-price selling) and is also a general store. International sellers are prohibited, only local entities can sell on the platform.
Jumia- This is the largest online marketplace in all of Africa, with the majority of its sales coming from Nigeria, however, 17% of sales come from Egypt (6.1M monthly visitors). Jumia is a German company, founded in 2012 by a company called ‘Rocket Internet’. It is also a general store wholesaler and allows for international sellers to sell on the platform, without the same barriers as the other Middle Eastern online marketplaces (other than Amazon).
Indeed, there are other online marketplaces within the Middle East, however, the companies mentioned above are the ones with the highest market share.