The new-age consumer behaviour is fast-evolving. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will see 147 percent growth in mobile wallet usage by 2025, according to Kearney. Further, it hints that 1 in 2 consumers in the MENA region is keen to experience Metaverse, and retailers are exploring Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to improve customer experience.
More than 150 expert speakers shared their knowledge and insights with over 500 delegates and 300 companies on digital transformation and the growth of the e-commerce sector at the Internet Commerce Summit (ICS) 2023 held at the Conrad Dubai from 16-17 March 2023.
Organised by IMAGES RetailME, the debut Internet Commerce Summit (ICS) MENA edition was built as a powerful platform that examined technology transformation, innovation and disruption across the e-commerce domain, for several business categories. This platform also brought to the front the future opportunities for the industry stakeholders to benefit from. Delegates at the two-day Summit, witnessed some exciting stories on digital transformation and innovative approaches, that is changing consumer behaviour and the way people shop.
By the end of 2023, the MENA region’s e-commerce market size is expected to be worth US$100 billion. To catalogue the strongly evident growth of this vibrant market, IMAGES Group MENA unveiled its first ever E-Commerce Yearbook on March 17, 2023. This unique compilation in its debut edition has been dedicated to the homegrown digital commerce ecosystem. Through this volume, the Yearbook traces the growth of the regional e-commerce landscape mapping the journeys and success of indigenous brands across multiple categories.
The Yearbook features 100 homegrown names in the e-commerce domain, highlighting how they have disrupted, set trends and created individualistic business models in their respective categories.
Bhavesh Pitroda, Founder & Convenor of Internet Commerce Summit (ICS) was happy to see the confluence of great minds from across industries at the 2-day conference and said, “The good response of ICS MENA’s debut edition paves the way for more such thought leadership conferences to come. There is a lot of opportunity waiting to be explored within the domain of the digital e-commerce ecosystem. Every industry needs to utilise this untapped horizon to reach great heights. Customers will only get more demanding for a connected experience and it is now on all of us to make it agile and ready for them. That’s the power of the internet and it will only grow manifolds.”
“We are pilot testing a project at Papa John’s Pizza that will capture multiple images of each of the pizzas prepared and served at our outlets and the software will scan the images to show if they were perfect by measuring the size of the pizza, ingredients, toppings and even the positioning of the pepperonis and other ingredients to show if each of the slices get equal amount of the toppings,” Tapan Vaidya, CEO of PJP Investments, franchisee of Papa Johns Pizza mentioned while speaking at the conference.
“The software then analyses the images and sends quick feedback to the store management on the quality of the pizza. This is one of the ways we are trying to ensure the quality of our products and services, among many other developments to enhance customer experience,” he added.
Piyush Chowhan, CIO of Panda Retail (part of Savola Group) said, “The customers are a step ahead and many retailers are still trying to catch up with their needs.”
“E-commerce is a growing space in MENA. It is pivoting great success stories that are worth noticing. What is good to see is that these companies are spread across industries and they are powering category growth like never before. ICS helped connect these powerhouses with the enabler ecosystem and that makes the narrative even stronger. Moreover, it is so heartening to see that the enabler ecosystem piggybacking on technology advancement is always ready to offer customised solutions to brands and companies engaged in the internet business,” Sudhakar Adapa, Founder & CEO, COMMERZIFY mentions.
Justina Eitzinger, COO of IMAGES RetailME, when talking about the event mentioned, “The debut edition of the Internet Commerce Summit 2023 has been an out-and-out success with experts sharing their insights on the future of this evolving industry. As the consumers, industry and the government stakeholders in the Middle East are evolving, it is important to give them the best knowledge, information and insights so that they can help re-shape the industry as per the consumer demand.”
A recent report by Amazon Payment Services indicates that consumers born between late 1990s and early 2010s are the driving force for digital payments, thriving on innovation, convenience and seamless experiences. However, it is the Millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996, who have the highest spending power.
The research shows that 51 percent of Gen Z in the UAE use digital or mobile wallets for daily payments, compared to 48 percent in Saudi Arabia, and 43 percent in Egypt. Moreover, 20 percent of UAE respondents reported a decline in cash usage, with 50 percent of Generation Z respondents confirming that they exclusively use cards for transactions.
Tamana Padhi, Principal, Consumer Industry – Retail, said, “The global Metaverse market is set to grow at 33 percent reaching $1 trillion in 5 years. The MENA region is set to build a $360 billion economy around Metaverse in 10 years. Overall consumers in MENA are maturing.”
Attendees at ICS covered the entire value chain of digital commerce businesses across MENA, India, Europe, and the US.
A number of industry leaders, experts and changemakers spoke at the two-day summit, including Brandon Rowberry – CEO – Aster DM Healthcare – Digital Health; Nader Amiri, Founder – elGrocer; Leena Khalil, Co-founder and CCO of Mumzworld; Piyush Chowhan, CIO, Panda Retail Company (Savola Group); Anthony Nehaenko, Co- Founder and CCO of YallaMarket; Peter Gesper, Senior Vice President of IT, Noon; Sayed Habib, Director, Business Development, Franchise & E-commerce – Danube Home; Mouna Abbassy, Founder and CEO, IZIL Beauty; Sadeq Abdulrasool – Chief Digital Officer – Homiez.me, Adam Docrat – Head of IT- Aster Retail GCC, Shah Hassam – CEO, Jerdoni, Kartik Bhatt – COO – GCC – Sharaf Retail, Tarek Barakat – Marketing & E-Commerce Director – Beside Group. Imad Hammad – Founder / CEO – CarSwitch.com, Steve Webster – Digital Director – Liwa Trading Enterprise, Anish Mohamed- Group CIO – Lulu Group International, Mohammad Alabbar – Founder & CEO – Akaar Homes, Santosh Krishnamurthy – Head of Digital & Retail Transformation – BFL Group, Rehana Raj – Operations Head – Choithrams and Sandeep Sharma – Director Group Procurement & International Markets – Domino’s Pizza and several others.
One of the key highlights of the event was the IMAGES ME E-Commerce Awards 2023, powered by Commerzify — the debut edition of MENA’s most authoritative recognition for excellence in e-commerce. This award in its debut edition celebrated some of the notable e-commerce journeys for brands across categories, tracing their growth across the digital runway.
Internet Commerce Summit 2023 Awardees
|1||IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Beauty and Wellness||Liht Organics|
|2||IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Food and Grocery||Lulu Hypermarket|
|3||IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Food Service||Filli Café|
|4||IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Fashion and Lifestyle||BFL Group|
|5||IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Jewellery||Etika Jewels|
|6||IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Kidswear||Babystore|
|7||IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Pharmacy and Healthcare||Life Pharmacy|
|8||IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Footwear||Dropkick|
|9||IMAGES ME Most Admired Ecommerce Company of the Year: Leisure and Gift||LetsTango.com|
|10||IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Marketplace||Menakart|
|11||IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Home and Houseware||Danube Home|
|12||IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Marketing and Customer Reach||Petzone|
|13||IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Customer Experience||Kibsons|
|14||IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Omnichannel Capability||Lulu Hypermarket|
|15||IMAGES ME Most Admired E-commerce Company of the Year: Fulfilment and Customer Service||Kibsons|
|16||IMAGES ME E-COMMERCE PERSONALITY of the Year: Fashion||Dharmin Ved, CEO, 6thStreet.com|
|17||IMAGES ME E-COMMERCE PERSONALITY of the Year: Marketplace||Mohamed Alabbar, Founder, Noon.com|