The region’s biggest online retailer sold twice as many goods during the biggest online shopping weekend of the year as shoppers swapped the mall for the web.

Souq.com said it sold 1.2 million products over the so-called “White Friday” weekend – more than double last year’s total.

The jump underscores how UAE shopping malls are facing increasing competitive pressure from online rivals as consumers who have traditionally been reluctant to share their credit card details online become more comfortable with web shopping.

“The numbers are truly amazing,” said Ronaldo Mouchawar, the chief executive and founder of Souq.com. He said traffic was 10 times the daily average, with 50 per cent of sales coming through its mobile app. “We are shipping really fast, so Friday’s sales are being delivered now.

The share of credit card payments show that customers are now embracing e-commerce and are convinced of the merits versus cash payments. As a rule we are the sixth most visited site in the UAE, above Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, so we are now a destination that people enjoy visiting.”

The Middle East has lagged more developed economies in e-commerce adoption by a wide margin. It is estimated that only 2 per cent of regional retail sales are conducted online against more mature markets such as the UK, where 17 per cent of retail sales are online.

The rapid growth of web shopping has decimated the high street in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. More than 100 BHS stores closed in July for good, the latest in a string of closures of brand names such as JJB Sports, Jessups and Comet. Even Marks & Spencer, middle England’s favourite shop, announced this month that 30 UK department stores would be closing, with 45 being shrunk. More info

By   www.thenational.ae

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