DUBAI: As the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan transforms Saudi Arabia, the founder and CEO of a leading e-commerce retailer for mothers and babies in the Middle East says an aggressive expansion in the country will see women and young people at the forefront of its booming business.
Mona Ataya has set her sights on Saudi Arabia as Mumzworld’s newest and biggest customer base in the region. Last October, the specialist firm raised $20 million in its latest funding round to accelerate its expansion in the Kingdom and invest in new technology.
“Mumzworld has established its leadership position in the mother and child e-commerce segment across all the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and Saudi Arabia has always been a very important market for us,” Ataya said.
“About 18 months ago, we aggressively expanded, setting up infrastructure and teams on the ground and anchoring our leadership in this segment in the Kingdom.
“Mumzworld today offers the largest choicse of products for the Saudi customer, delivered very fast with superior localized offerings.”
The Kingdom was an obvious choice for expansion, she said. “With the current changes in Saudi that are impacting every home — women driving, the entertainment industry exploding, and more licenses for sports outlets such as gyms and fitness centers for women — the entire consumer landscape has shifted in months. This has also come with a big drive to create more opportunities for youth employment, with women firmly in the workplace. Retail space in Saudi Arabia is now almost entirely run by women in positions such as store managers and front-of-line sales.”
Since its launch in 2011, UAE-based Mumzworld has become the leading online marketplace for all things mother, baby and child in the region with more than 250,000 online products.
“Women currently make up 49.7 percent of around 345.5 million people in the Middle East and North Africa region. Birth rates in the GCC are among the highest globally, with per child annual spend estimated to be five times the European and US mother averages. This is a very impressionable, information-hungry and risk-averse customer who demands the best for her children.
“The market for baby and children’s products in the Arab world is underpinned by a young population and some of the highest birth rates in the world. The region is wealthy and tech-savvy, especially in the key markets of the UAE and Saudi Arabia, with these two ranking among the highest in the world in mobile penetration and social media consumption.”
While e-commerce penetration in the GCC remains below other developed regions, the region is starting to catch up quickly, indicating enormous growth potential, Ataya said.
“With important initiatives from the Kingdom to facilitate licenses and activate affordable e-commerce enablers, we expect this space in the Kingdom to grow from strength to strength.”
After decades of oil-based economic expansion, entrepreneurship has emerged as the new growth engine for GCC economies, and Ataya is excited to see GCC leaders foster the spirit of entrepreneurship.
“As an entrepreneur I am delighted to see how the youth is hungry for innovation and change, using social media to deliver the message loud and clear to the industry on prices, service quality and range, in addition to the amazing talent that is graduating from the new Saudi Arabia.”
Mumzworld has won more than 200 regional and international awards and is bilingual in Arabic and English, as well as being the only Arabic app in the region dedicated to mothers, she added.
“We are here to create an indispensable online extension of a mother’s life, empowering her to make the most informed decisions for her children. You empower a mother, you empower a child. You empower a child, you change the world. And for that vision, we are leading the way in innovation and disruption from our homegrown region, MENA.”