Amazon launches in Kingdom as more Saudi shoppers go online

Customers can now shop on Amazon in Saudi Arabia using their Souq credentials. (AFP)
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Updated 17 June 2020

Amazon launches in Kingdom as more Saudi shoppers go online

  • Customers can now shop on Amazon in Saudi Arabia using their Souq credentials and free next day delivery will be available for orders above SR200
  • Shopping worldwide has received a boost from pandemic-related lockdowns and more shoppers are forced to turn to the web for their purchases

RIYADH: Amazon has launched in the Kingdom as more Saudi shoppers turn to the web for purchases in the wake of the coronavirus.
It comes as online shopping worldwide gets a boost from pandemic-related lockdowns and more shoppers are forced to turn to the web for their purchases.
“The new store brings together the best of Souq’s local know-how and Amazon’s global retailing experience. The store’s selection ranges from local products to those from all over the world, including Amazon US,” said a statement on the homepage of Amazon.sa on Wednesday.
Customers can now shop on Amazon in Saudi Arabia using their Souq credentials and free next day delivery will be available for orders above SR200 ($53).
Abdullah Alghamdi, a 31-year old government employee in Riyadh, said the arrival of Amazon was a major boost for consumer choice in the Kingdom.
“I think this step will not only positively impact the service quality level of Souq, but the whole of online commerce in the Kingdom. The direct existence of a giant online e-commerce platform will definitely encourage more people to buy online and will ignite more competition” he said.
The coronavirus has triggered a surge in online shopping in Saudi Arabia that had benefited local retailers even before the arrival of Amazon.
In late March local online retailer BinDawood Holding reported that its average sales on a 10-day basis had increased by 200 percent, while its average order value rose by 50 percent and app installations by 400 percent, according to a report from Oxford Business Group.
Saudi grocery delivery app Nana has also received a business boost from the fast-changing retail landscape in the country when it raised $18 million in funding in March to expand its operations across the Middle East.
“As part of the Financial Sector Development Programme – itself part of Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s long- term development plan – the government hopes to increase the proportion of online payments to 70 percent by 2030, up from the 2020 target of 28 percent,” Oxford Business Group said.
Such policy support bodes well for the growth of the e-commerce sector in the Kingdom.
The Souq Saudi workforce has already grown to more than 1,400 in the last few years, according to its website.
The newly branded website is available in Arabic on both the desktop and app platforms.
To use amazon.sa on shoppers should download the Amazon shopping app and select “Saudi Arabia” from the settings.
Souq.com was founded in 2005 by Syrian entrepreneur Ronaldo Mouchawar.


Turkey on brink of recession as economy collapses

Updated 13 August 2020

Turkey on brink of recession as economy collapses

  • Consumer debt has increased by 25 percent to more than $100 billion in the past three months

JEDDAH: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s popularity is plunging in lockstep with Turkey’s collapsing economy and the country is on the verge of a potentially devastating recession, financial experts have told Arab News.
The value of the Turkish lira has fallen to 7.30 against the US dollar and the central bank has spent $65 billion to prop up the currency, according to the US investment bank Goldman Sachs.
Consumer debt has increased by 25 percent to more than $100 billion in the past three months as the government moved to help families during the coronavirus pandemic, but the result has been a surge in inflation to 12 percent.
With the falling lira and increased price of imported goods, the living standards of many Turks who earn in lira but have dollar debts have fallen sharply.
The economy is expected to shrink by about 4 percent this year. The official unemployment rate remains at 12.8 percent because layoffs are banned, although many experts say the real figures are far higher.
To complete the perfect storm, tourism revenues and exports have been decimated by the pandemic, and foreign capital has fled amid fears over economic trends and the independence of the central bank.
Wolfango Piccoli, of Teneo Intelligence in London, said logic dictated an increase in interest rates but “this is unlikely to happen.”
Piccoli said central bank officials would strive to avoid an outright rate hike at their monetary policy meeting on Aug. 20. “A mix of controlled devaluation and backdoor policies, such as limiting Turkish lira’s liquidity, remains their preferred approach,” he said.
There is speculation of snap elections, and Erdogan’s view is that higher interest rates cause inflation, despite considerable economic evidence to the contrary.