Nearly 60% of Saudi Black Friday shoppers more comfortable buying online

Nearly 60% of Saudi Black Friday shoppers more comfortable buying online
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Amazon announcing on Wednesday the creation of 3,400 new jobs across the Kingdom, as it boosts its operations to handle this weekend’s Black Friday sales rush. (Amazon)
Nearly 60% of Saudi Black Friday shoppers more comfortable buying online
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Alistair Burton, country manager MEA at advertising platform Criteo. (Criteo)
Nearly 60% of Saudi Black Friday shoppers more comfortable buying online
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Amazon announcing on Wednesday the creation of 3,400 new jobs across the Kingdom, as it boosts its operations to handle this weekend’s Black Friday sales rush. (Amazon)
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Updated 25 November 2020

Nearly 60% of Saudi Black Friday shoppers more comfortable buying online

Nearly 60% of Saudi Black Friday shoppers more comfortable buying online
  • Data found online sales in Middle East and Africa surged 336 percent on Black Friday in 2019
  • Amazon reported it has boosted its Saudi workforce by 3,400 to handle the anticipated demand

DUBAI: As Saudi online retailers build up for Black Friday this weekend, a new survey found the majority of shoppers in the Kingdom said they feel more comfortable buying online this year than in-store.

The survey, carried out by advertising platform Criteo, comes as new data also found that online sales in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) surged 336 percent last year, while overall traffic rose 170 percent.

With similar figures expected this year, as shoppers remain at home as a result of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Criteo survey of 900 Saudi online consumers found that around forty percent of respondents said they plan to buy more products online this year, with household products, groceries and beauty and hygiene products proving most popular.

Alistair Burton, country manager MEA at Criteo commented: “The events of 2020 made it an extraordinary year for e-commerce. Our research shows that this year consumers will swap door-buster deals for online discounts that start sooner and span a longer period of time.”

Overall, the research found that 58 percent of Saudi respondents said they feel more comfortable shopping online this year than in-store, while half also said they were delaying any recent purchases so they can avail of the Black Friday promotions and discounts this weekend.

When it comes to service considerations, 35 percent of shoppers said the shipping cost was a big factor in their decision-making process.

The Black Friday marketing push has a proven track record to result in more sales for retailers. Noon, the online shopping platform backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and Dubai businessman Mohamed Alabbar, set a target to attract 25 million unique shoppers in 2019. It claims to have “surpassed” all expectations last year and is aiming for an even bigger figure this year.

During a Noon presentation last year in Dubai to regional retailers, the platform reported that during the “Yellow Friday” sales push, its weekly revenue increased eight-fold, the average customer conversion rate on the portal and app doubled, the number of items purchased per basket rose 50 percent, and the amount of average time shoppers spent on the site increased threefold.

The surge in online interest has benefited the overall economy, with Amazon announcing on Wednesday the creation of 3,400 new jobs across the Kingdom, as it boosts its operations to handle this weekend’s sales rush. The company pointed out that 60 percent of the new full-time jobs went to Saudi nationals.

Amazon also said six months ago it increased its delivery network by 25 percent and launched new delivery stations across Saudi Arabia.

Prashant Saran, director of operations for Amazon Middle East and North Africa, said: “We have continued to invest in Saudi Arabia as part of our long-term commitment to our customers.”


Intel avoids outsourcing embrace, investigates hack of results

Intel avoids outsourcing embrace, investigates hack of results
Updated 22 January 2021

Intel avoids outsourcing embrace, investigates hack of results

Intel avoids outsourcing embrace, investigates hack of results

The incoming chief executive of Intel Corp. said on Thursday that most of the company’s 2023 products will be made in Intel factories but he sketched a dual-track future in which it will lean more heavily on outside factories.
The lack of a strong embrace of outsourcing from new CEO Pat Gelsinger drove shares down 4.7% after hours. Shares rose 6.5% during regular trade, when the results were released ahead of the close. The company said it was investigating “non-authorized” access to some of the results, with the Financial Times quoting its chief financial officer as saying the microchip maker had been hacked.
Intel also forecast first-quarter revenue and profit above Wall Street expectations, continuing to benefit from pandemic demand for laptops and PCs that have powered the shift to working and playing from home.
Gelsinger said he was “confident that the majority of our 2023 products will be manufactured internally” though he also said the use of outside chip factories is likely to increase “for certain technologies and products.”
Intel has been considering since last July whether to drop its decades-old strategy of both designing and making chips by turning for help on its central processing units, or CPUS, to “foundry” manufacturers. Those partners could be Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung Electronics. Intel’s manufacturing technology, called a 7-nanometer process, is expected in 2023.
“We didn’t get our answer on which foundries and when,” said Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy. “They pushed the can down the road.”
Kinngai Chan, analyst at Summit Insights Group, said Intel is not likely to outsource its flagship chips.
“Intel’s 14-nanometer chip transistor speed has always been faster than what any foundry can offer even at 7-nanometer,” Chan said. “We believe it will increase its use of external foundries over-time — just not for its large-core CPUs.”
Keeping manufacturing in-house means higher investments. Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon questioned whether Gelsinger, currently the chief executive of VMware Inc. who previously spent 30 years at Intel and announced his intention to return just last week, has had sufficient time to dig into the issue.
“It was pretty obvious they were trying to borrow his credibility” when Gelsinger endorsed Intel’s delayed 7-naonmeter technology, Rasgon said.
Intel’s decision coincides with US lawmakers having passed bipartisan legislation to fund US chip manufacturing. But the new law has yet to specify funding levels or recipients, and Forrester Research analyst Glenn O’Donnell said Intel might take the opportunity to solicit US government support for domestic manufacturing.
Boosted by a new high-end PC processor, Intel regained some momentum in the PC market, with volumes of PC chips rising 33%, faster than the 26% rise for the overall PC market, according to data from IDC.
Data center group sales, which powered Intel’s growth over the past several years, were $6.1 billion compared with analyst estimates of $5.48 billion, according to FactSet data.
But sales to cloud computing customers, some of the largest and fastest-growing purchasers of data center chips, were down 15% in the fourth quarter. Data center chip operating margins were 34% in the quarter, down from 48% a year earlier.
“We think (data center) operating margins are going to improve as we get toward the second half of the year, when we expect to see a rebound in cloud” chip sales, Intel Chief Financial Officer George Davis said.
The company also raised its dividend by 5%.
The chipmaker said it expects fiscal first-quarter adjusted sales of $17.5 billion and adjusted earnings per share of $1.10, both ahead of analyst consensus, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Fourth-quarter revenue of $20 billion and adjusted earnings per share of $1.52 also beat Wall Street targets.