The percentage of e-commerce sales in Egypt in terms of volume of retail trade amounted to 0.4% in 2016, according to a report by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT). The report noted that e-commerce sales out of total retail sales in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) reached 1.8%.
Moreover, the MCIT report stated that China ranks first in terms of its share of e-commerce in the retail sector, boasting 18.4%, followed by South Korea with 12.1%.
The United States came third with a share of 8.2%, followed by Russia with 3%, and then Brazil and India, each with 2.5%.
Next on the list came Indonesia with 2.2%, Argentina with 1.7%, and then Malaysia with 1.2%.
Although still in its infancy, Egypt’s e-commerce market has had some early successes since the first e-commerce sites and internet businesses were established in Egypt in the late 1990s.
For example, Otlob, an e-commerce business established in 1999, pioneered the concept of online food regulation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. e3050, founded in 2004, is reported to be the first e-retailer in Egypt (electronics). Other examples include sites such as freedaysegypt.com (tourism), tahriracademy.org (online education), and alborglab.com (health), as well as in the media sector with advertising-based Arabic news portals Masrawry, Egypt’s first and most popular news site (1999), and sports news site FilGoal (2001).
In 2015, there were an estimated 450 e-commerce websites in Egypt. In the multi-category online retailers and e-marketplaces, the top two e-marketplaces in Egypt for several years were established regional players Souq (United Arab Emirates) and Jumia (parent company Rocket Internet). Currently, Souq and Jumia, which entered the Egyptian market in 2011 and 2012 respectively, are the main e-commerce companies and have played a major role in helping to grow the industry in Egypt. Yaoota, Egypt’s first search engine price comparison site for online shopping, was founded in 2014. On the basis of its search results data, Yaoota reported that Souq and Jumia garnered 60-70% of the total visits to e-commerce websites in 2015, with the remaining 30-40% of visits distributed among remaining e-commerce players. Souq was purchased by e-commerce giant Amazon in March 2017.
In Egypt, there is a proliferation of Egyptian e-commerce companies and growth in the local market, particularly in niche markets. In recent years, the Egyptian e-commerce market has shown dynamism, with a growing rate of new e-commerce startups, though the survival rate or rapid, sustained growth of many of these startups in many cases is tenuous and prone to high turnover. Online grocery shopping is growing among small-scale grocers. Established in 2014, knockmart.com is a unique Egyptian online supermarket chain, which has grown rapidly to become one of the largest of its type in the region and is the first comprehensive shopping experience in Cairo that delivers groceries and household goods.