The e-commerce landscape in the UAE is on the verge of a seismic shift. In fact, according to Statista, it is projected to boast a staggering 8 million users, a testament to the nation’s appetite for online shopping. As of 2023, user penetration already stands at an impressive 79.2%, and this figure is poised to surge to 82.0% within the next four years.
These statistics paint a vivid picture of the flourishing e-commerce market, offering opportunities for sellers to establish their presence. This rapid growth of the e-commerce ecosystem has also given rise to multiple marketplaces. Sellers looking to stay competitive should choose the right marketplace for their business.
It is also important to recognize the thriving categories driving this expansion. As of 2023, the top segments capturing the attention of online shoppers in the UAE include Fashion and Apparel, Electronics and Gadgets, Beauty and Cosmetics, Perfumes, Dry Fruits, Baby Products, Health and Wellness, and more. Understanding these popular categories is key to tailoring your business strategy and product offerings to cater to the preferences of the local consumer base.
So, whether you are an established online retailer or a newcomer looking to venture into the world of e-commerce, this comprehensive guide will serve as your compass, helping you navigate the top marketplaces in the United Arab Emirates.
Top E-commerce Marketplaces in the UAE
Here are the top e-commerce marketplaces in the UAE offering abundant opportunities for both buyers and sellers:
Building on its global reputation, Amazon ventured into the UAE market, offering an expansive range of products and services tailored to the local audience. The online retailer established a presence in the Middle East through the acquisition of Souq.com, which was later rebranded to Amazon.ae for the UAE.
- Commission Structure: Starting from 5% or min 1.0 AED to 15% per item, depending on the product category
- Shipping Mechanism: Amazon UAE operates on three models:
- Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) model, which allows sellers to store their products in Amazon’s fulfillment centers. Amazon handles storage, packaging, and shipping. Amazon’s local courier partners include Emirates Post, Aramex, SkyNet, PostaPlus, Shipa, and Naqel.
- Easy Ship model, the orders are picked up from the seller’s location by an Amazon Logistics delivery associate and delivered to the buyers’ doorstep.
- Self-Ship model, which allows sellers to ship products using their own delivery partners.
- Monthly Web Visitors: Around 16 million
- Top Selling Categories: Electronics, Beauty, Fashion, and Health
Amazon has acted as a springboard for numerous businesses in the UAE. A testament to its influence is reflected in the words of Dr. Sakher Al-Amir, Chairman of Kyan Medical, a leading medical distributor in the region, “Since we started selling on Amazon, our sales have increased by eight to nine times.”
Founded in 2016, Noon has rapidly grown its presence across the Middle East, with a significant footprint in the UAE. It has become a household name for many consumers looking for a wide range of products. What truly distinguishes Noon is the simplicity and accessibility it offers to sellers.
Within a mere 48 working hours, individuals from any location can become registered sellers at Noon. Additionally, the payment system is remarkably hassle-free, guaranteeing that revenue is disbursed weekly without any delays or deferred payments.
Noon operates as a multinational marketplace, and UAE constitutes the largest contributor to its Gross Merchandise Value (GMV).
- Commission Structure: Ranging from 4% to 27% per item, depending on the product type
- Shipping Mechanism: Noon operates on two models:
- Fulfilled by Noon (FBN) or Noon Express allows sellers to store products within Noon’s customer fulfillment centers (CFCs). Opting for FBN means that Noon manages the inventory and handles customer orders, ensuring prompt shipping to customers on the seller’s behalf. Noon also takes care of customer inquiries and returns. All FBN items are prominently labeled as ‘Noon Express,’ allowing customers to filter and identify them easily. FBN is popular among customers due to its promise of delivering orders within 24 hours of purchase.
- Fulfilled by Partner (FBP), where sellers retain their inventory in their own location. Sellers accept incoming orders through Noon Seller Lab, prepare the items for shipping, and then hand them over to Noon Logistics, either via pick-up or drop-off at a Noon hub.
- Monthly Web Visitors: Approximately 3.8 million
Multinational companies like El Sewedy recognized the pivotal role that Noon played in their success journey. Ayman Osama, Business Agent at El Sewedy, shared their journey from initially selling five SKUs to now offering well over 200 SKUs from a wide range of globally recognized mobile brands.
Established in the region in 1995 through a strategic partnership with the UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim Group, Carrefour has since become a dominant retail force in over 30 markets across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Carrefour’s unique business model empowers brands to showcase their products across both online and offline platforms.
By collaborating with Carrefour, brands transition from mere suppliers to strategic partners, amplifying their presence in one of the world’s most dynamic retail landscapes.
- Monthly Web Visitors: Around 1.3 million
- Top Selling Categories: Groceries, Electronics, Clothing, and Household Items
Founded in 2005, Sharaf DG is one of the leading electronics retailers in the UAE. With its strong presence both online and offline, Sharaf DG has become a trusted name for consumers looking for electronics, gadgets, and a wide range of other products.
The retailer allows businesses to list their products, giving them complete control over inventory and sales performance. Sellers can work with a fixed margin or a minimum guaranteed margin, and they can monitor the customer journey and product views both online and in physical stores.
- Founded: In 2005
- Monthly Web Visitors: Approximately 1.3 million
DubaiStore is a unique online marketplace launched by Digital Economy Solutions, a joint venture between Dubai’s Department of Economic Development and Emaratech. Established to support local businesses and SMEs, DubaiStore offers a platform for licensed businesses in the UAE to showcase and sell their products online without the need for individual e-commerce infrastructure.
What sets DubaiStore apart is its commitment to promoting local businesses. It provides a secure and transparent platform for both buyers and sellers, ensuring that all transactions are safe and trustworthy.
- Commission Structure: 4-15% per item, depending on product category
- Shipping Mechanism: DubaiStore has partnered with multiple logistics providers to ensure timely and efficient delivery of products.
- Monthly Web Visitors: Around 480K
- Top Selling Categories: Electronics, Beauty & Fragrance, Home & Kitchen, and Baby Products
Namshi was founded in 2011 and quickly established itself as one of the leading online fashion and beauty marketplaces in the UAE. Headquartered in Dubai, this marketplace primarily focuses on offering a wide range of fashion and lifestyle products. The e-commerce marketplace Noon successfully acquired Namshi, further consolidating its presence in the online retail space.
Known for its user-friendly website and mobile app, Namshi makes it easy for customers to browse and shop for fashion and lifestyle products. They offered multiple filters and search options to help customers find what they were looking for.
- Commission Structure: 12-16% per item, depending on the product type
- Monthly Web Visitors: Approximately 360K
Let’s Sell Efficiently on the Top E-commerce Marketplaces in the UAE!
UAE’s e-commerce sector is in the midst of an exciting growth phase, presenting a wealth of opportunities for businesses. It’s essential to understand and leverage the potential of the leading e-commerce marketplaces in the country, such as Amazon, Noon, Dubai Store, and more.
These marketplaces are not only prominent but also highly user-friendly on both Android and iOS platforms. This user-friendliness ensures that your products are readily accessible to a broad audience, making it easier for you to connect with your customers.
However, it is equally important to remember that efficient management of your e-commerce operations is essential for success. Whether you choose any marketplace, leveraging the right technology and logistics providers can streamline your operations and help you make the most of the e-commerce opportunities in the UAE.
By making informed choices and aligning your business strategy with the right marketplace, you can unlock the vast potential of the e-commerce market in the UAE and position your business for long-term success.
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