Qatar’s e-commerce sector has seen steady growth in recent months

Stock photo used for representational purposes only.

Due to multiple reasons, including the precautions and restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the e-commerce sector in the country has been growing steadily over the past few months.

The latest innovations in the IT sector as well as the popularity of online shopping platforms have also contributed to this rapid increase. There were 350 websites registered in the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) e-commerce directory in June last year, while that number rose to 494 e-commerce websites, now showing an addition of 144 new websites.

A number of e-commerce websites are among the businesses that use a hybrid model like well-known hypermarkets, restaurants, pharmacies, clothing stores, while there are many e-commerce only platforms serving travel, tourism and other retail sectors.

According to the MoTC’s e-commerce portal, Qatar’s e-commerce program aims to create an enabling environment for the rapid adoption of e-commerce in the country by addressing its key inhibiting factors.

It also aims to establish protocols and governance mechanisms that will foster and encourage the future expansion of e-commerce in Qatar, he added.

The objectives and roadmap for the country’s e-commerce program have been compiled through an extensive process, involving local, regional and international companies with a significant interest in Qatari e-commerce – from creating products and services to online shopping, order fulfillment and delivery, according to the MoTC portal.

In addition to identifying and removing key barriers to building a thriving online retail sector, ongoing coordination, communication and collaboration between all stakeholders was also recognized as essential to the implementation effective program objectives.

“The growing number of companies in e-commerce shows the enormous potential of the Qatar market. The e-commerce market in Qatar is set to grow further as many SMEs (small and medium enterprises) are yet to adopt digital payment platforms. Additionally, due to COVID-19 restrictions, consumers have become accustomed to using digital payments. The pandemic has accelerated the momentum of e-commerce in Qatar,” a senior executive at an IT company providing digital payment solutions told The Peninsula.

Qatar also launched ‘Theqa’ in 2019, which is Qatar’s first-ever e-commerce trustmark and aims to drive and nurture online retail activity in the country by instilling a sense of trust that its e-commerce ecosystem is safe and secure.