What Did We Learn At ArabNet 2013: Middle East Tech, Mobile, Social Media And E-Commerce Trends

The Arabnet Conference kicked off its fourth annual Digital Summit, the most prestigious gathering of digital professionals and entrepreneurs in the MENA region last month. Arabnet’s energetic and enthusiastic founder (who I had met a month before the conference) Omar Christidis announced at the end of the event that the next year’s conference will be held in Dubai again. Here are some interesting facts and figures that were discussed, presented and debated at the conference.


  • Shipments in the region have grown by 70% in 2013
  • With Shop & Ship – Apparel is #1, followed by electronics, entertainment and books
  • Who buys more – #KSA is 1, #UAE is 2 & #Qatar comes 3rd. Last year 3rd destination was #Kuwait
  • Kuwait was out because they have implemented strict laws on importing
  • Last year, most of the business was Cash on Delivery (COD) (70%) this year COD became (75%) which is shocking
  • Clients who pay with COD are 7 times more likely to return an item than those who pay with credit cards
  • Ecommerce in #MENA estimated at $15 billion

Social Media

  • Facebook ads in #Egypt as a popular as Google ads
  • An average Emirati user is a fan of 43 pages on Facebook according to Social Bakers
  • “Facebook engagement in MENA increases 30% in Ramadan.”
  • More than 70% of active users access Facebook from a mobile device
  • The MENA region contributes around 2 hours out of 72 hours of video uploaded every minite on #YouTube!


  • Mobile makes up more than 40% of YouTube’s global watch time, more than one billion views a day
  • KSA stat: 65% of the population is under the age of 35. There is 65% smartphone penetration in the country
  • Four Hours of Men

  • Tablet trends in 2013


Other Trends

  • Souq.com grew from 300 to 800 people in less than 8 months to keep up pace with the increasing demands of the market.
  • Elance – freelancers earned USD 1 billion in 2012 alone and the global online freelance market is expected to grow to USD 4 billion within 4 years.
  • Google Reach Chart



  1. 5 key developments in the MENA digital space | Damian Radcliffe - November 20, 2013

    [...] around 2 hours of video every minute on YouTube. This stat was reported by TFour.me in their coverage of the fourth annual Arabnet Conference. The extent of the region’s engagement with YouTube was [...]

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