Why Now Is the Right Time To Start your E-Commerce Business in the UAE?


Online shopping is booming, and in the Middle East and North Africa, the UAE is the most advanced e-commerce market. A study between the Dubai Economy and Visa projected the country’s e-commerce transactions to cross $16 billion in 2019 and rise by an average of 23 per cent annually until 2022. With customers increasingly relying on online shopping, by 2040, 95 per cent of transactions are expected to be made online. E-commerce is opening the doors of opportunity to countless entrepreneurs.

How is Covid-19 Affecting E-commerce?

Because of the numerous UAE lockout restrictions, including the temporary closure of shopping malls and all shops selling non-essential goods, shoppers turn to online shopping! They can shop and get their chosen items shipped to their door at a convenient time for them from their homes’ comfort and safety. What could be easier? It’s hassle-free, and shoppers stay safe. 

Since most people are currently trapped in their homes, they have more free time browsing the internet and shopping. There was never a better chance for a highly active online audience to reach out!

What is Hot in E-commerce Right Now?

Five of the top e-commerce business ideas for 2020 are:

  1. Fashion/Jewellery Products
  2. Smart Home Products & Accessories
  3. AR/VR Headsets, Apps & Accessories
  4. Vape Hardware, Flavours & Liquids
  5. Online Learning Platforms

It would help if you had more than a “hot” trending product or service to have a profitable online company to get started. You will need a well-defined target market as well. The leading online shoppers are Millennials and Gen Xers, with 67 per cent of Millennials and 56 per cent of Gen Xers choosing to shop online instead of at a mall. Part of the reason you see these two parts of the population investing more cash online is that they spend more time online shopping. While women are stereotypically pinned up as shoppers, men dominate the stats of online shopping, spending 28 per cent more than women!

Within the e-commerce market, the UAE is the fastest growing country. The UAE has the most advanced e-commerce sector in the whole MENA country, with an online shopping boom. Today, the UAE e-commerce market is estimated at a whopping AED 104 billion, with an average annual growth of 23 per cent projected. Several factors have helped to place the UAE as the global centre for e-commerce. Here are the top reasons why there’s never been a better time to start an e-commerce business in the UAE.

1. Increasing Online Shopping Trends in the UAE

  • Many UAE citizens switch from conventional shopping modes to online shopping, signifying the country’s e-commerce firms.
  • Internet shopping now plays an immense role in the daily lives of consumers. Research suggests that online shopping has expanded by 1500 per cent over the last decade in the Middle East.
  • Today’s soaring number of online shoppers has contributed to the rise of e-commerce firms that quickly capitalise on this trend.

2. Covid-19 Pandemic Impact on E-Commerce

  • People are gradually turning to online shopping from the convenience and protection of their homes because of different lockdown restrictions across the UAE and the closure of shops and shopping malls.
  • As most people work from home at the moment, they have more time to shop online.
  • There is a significant rise in online grocery orders, with the usual traffic rising by at least 10-15 times. So, there has never been a greater chance for e-commerce firms to meet a highly active audience online.

3. Rise of the Tech-Savvy Consumers

  • Tech-savvy customers are rapidly shopping either for personal use or for their companies online. Experts predict that 95 per cent of transactions are going to be online by 2040.
  • There is a growing consciousness, and customers learn through a series of online interactions to make the right buying decision. They do research online, learn and educate themselves, share online knowledge, confirm their friend’s option, and decide.
  • The growing proportion of tech-savvy customers is a significant source of growth for e-commerce businesses.

4. Deep Preference for Local UAE Websites

  • An astonishing number of people in the area prefer shopping rather than foreign-based platforms from local UAE-based websites online. This choice reveals the enormous potential for growth for local UAE websites facing stiff competition from global e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Alibaba.

5. Rise of Online Retail/E-Commerce Businesses

  • In the UAE today, there are more than 100 of the best shopping websites and apps. For example, the Dubizzle and SOUQ e-commerce platforms, established in 2005, are now worth more than USD 1 trillion each.
  • The e-commerce industry opens the doors of opportunity for countless new entrepreneurs to begin their e-commerce start-ups with such positive growth prospects.

6. Supportive Role of the UAE Government

  • Payment for Cashless – By expanding cashless payment options for various types of purchases and government services in the region, the UAE government plays a vital role in reinforcing online transactions between businesses and consumers.
  • Online Services: The government has made significant efforts to develop itself as an e-commerce centre by offering essential online services at the same level as some of the top European Union countries.
  • Investor-Friendly Government Policies: The UAE government provides foreign investors with several benefits for running a free zone company, including 0 per cent personal income or corporate tax, 100 per cent business ownership, 100 per cent business profit repatriation, and negligible custom duties.

7. Growth of Social Media

  • The rising trend of online purchases has further fueled the growth of social media.
  • Social networking networks are increasingly championed by SMEs and start-ups and are used for online sales, marketing, and consumer interaction.

8. Growing Internet Penetration & Presence of PayPal

  • In the UAE, internet penetration is one of the highest in the world, statistics show.
  • The online space is likely to continue to flourish with the growth of broadband/high-speed internet access in the area and improvements in transaction security, payment execution, and technology speed.
  • With an increase in e-commerce transactions, PayPal and other online payment platforms in the GCC have expanded significantly.

9. Availability of World-Class Infrastructure & Logistics

  • Usually, the UAE’s infrastructure and logistics facilities are some of the world’s best. All is unmatched, from world-class facilities to accessible office space choices, round-the-clock security, and business support resources.

10. Hassle-Free Licensing Procedure

  • Usually, the UAE’s infrastructure and logistics facilities are some of the world’s best. 
  • All is unmatched, from world-class facilities to accessible office space choices, round-the-clock security, and business support resources.

It’s high time to start your e-commerce company now more than ever, with all the positive factors contributing to the development of the UAE’s e-commerce economy!

How do I Start my Ecommerce Business?

The steps are –

  1. Select the product/service you’d like to sell. This phase is simple if you make the product. If not, you will need to find a reliable supplier so that you can satisfy both now and in the future the requirements of your client. You would also have to consider upfront costs and shipping times while working with vendors to market goods.
  2. Market research – where in the market do your products fit? Is the demand there? Will you need to teach people if they are innovative? Are you going to put them as high-end and premium-priced or a low-cost commodity where sales volume is crucial? Will there be a need to adapt them in some way to the local market?
  3. Get a business license (trade license) to legally sell your products
  4. Opening a corporate bank account
  5. Arranging an online payment gateway
  6. You are open for business!


As you can see from the above overview, there are many things to consider before starting an e-commerce business in the UAE. There are different licensing forms and jurisdictions to be considered to get a suitable license for your circumstances. There are various document requirements and procedures for each claim, different setup timescales, additional fees and other ongoing renewal fees. Given that there are so many variables, each creation of the company would be unique to payments. Based on the particular circumstance and requirements of the individual, each company formation is tailored.

E-commerce business setup in Dubai is a burgeoning industry as local business investors understand the feasibility and profitability. Talk to the Commitbiz business setup consultants team if you are an investor who wants to invest his/her capital in a lucrative venture or if you are a young entrepreneur who wants to test the waters of the Dubai economy.