If there's one thing millennials did right, it's completely transforming the shopping scene. What once was a tedious task requiring you to look presentable, leave the house, and come back in certain hours, is now a calming pass-time in your pajamas at home.
Because no matter what it is, we've figured out a way for you to buy it online: groceries, phones, apparel, flowers, and so on and so forth.
Currently, 62 percent of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile devices in the last six months, and this number is only increasing in the coming years. Global e-commerce sales will grow approximately 17.7 percent and reach $1.77 trillion dollars.
It's safe to assume shopping online isn't just a trend but rather the direction the market is heading towards in the near future, and that also rings true in the Arab world. Here are six Arab e-commerce websites marking their spot on the map:
1. Feel22: Lebanon and Iraq
The team behind Feel22 saw a chance and seized it. Back in 2016, three Lebanese entrepreneurs launched Feel22 to provide "the widest selection of makeup, haircare, skincare, perfumes and other beauty products from top and emerging brands at the best price."
The team works directly or in collaboration with top distributors and brands including Clinique, L'Oréal, Avène, and hundreds of others, serving over 30,000 clients to date with exclusive offers and discounts.
They offer free delivery and returns, and have since launched their online store in Iraq.
2. Noon.com: UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt
In 2018, Noon entered the Middle Eastern market as the newest e-commerce platform to sell just about anything, from pots and pans to the newest iPhone. It was marketed as "an easy and secure platform for people to discover and shop the products they love."
They offer competitive prices, fast delivery, easy payment with either cash or credit, and return options with 24-hour customer service.
3. Lebelik: Lebanon
The first of its kind, Lebelik broke through the Lebanese market as the only online shopping platform specializing in high Lebanese fashion. It was originally founded in 2011 by twins and business partners Michel and Louise Doumet in New York, the U.S., in an effort to help Lebanese designers share their work with the rest of the world and build a community of fashion lovers on one platform.
Lebelik "celebrates the authenticity of a nation, the expertise of artistry techniques and the unity of patterns, textures, colors and trends."
Currently, the e-commerce site is home to over 80 Lebanese designers and brands with around 2,500 products.
4. Mumzworld: UAE and Saudi Arabia
Founded in 2011, Mumzworld is the first and largest online shopping site in the Middle East for mother, child, and baby. Initially, the online shopping site serviced the UAE but later evolved to include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, and Lebanon. They also do international shipping.
When a team of caring but busy entrepreneurs and parents felt something was missing in the market, they decided to build a platform that would sell all the products they could possibly need themselves. Not only is Mumzworld a place where parents can shop online but also a platform where people can search and compare products at ease and read other people's reviews.
Eight years later, Mumzworld still stands as the leading mom and baby e-commerce platform in the Middle East.
5. Souq.com: UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt
In 2017, Amazon acquired Dubai-based online shopping platform Souq for $580 million. As of 2019, the internet retailer Souq.com officially became Amazon.ae in the UAE.
The success of Souq, founded by CEO Ronaldo Mouchawar in 2005, led to U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon acquiring it.
Before the acquisition took place, Souq claimed it was the largest online retailer in the Arab world, controlling around 78 percent of all e-commerce in the Middle East and North Africa. This means Souq, to a certain extent, was monopolizing the online market by selling everything from accessories to clothes, books, household appliances, electronics, and groceries.
6. Brands for Less: Lebanon
What started as a humble retail store in Lebanon now has presence across the Middle East, with 30 outlets in countries such as the UAE, Bahrain, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Qatar.
The online store is now home to American brands and German retailer Tchibo with products for women, men, kids, and babies, as well as household furniture and appliances. They set themselves apart as a discount store with competitive prices and impeccable customer support.