Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 November 2020

Dubai and Noon.com partner on programme to promote Emirati e-commerce businesses

The emirate recorded a 235% surge in DED Trader licences issued last month

Dubai Marina. Homeowners in the emirate are expected to pay their service charges every quarter. Antonie Robertson / The National
Dubai Marina. Homeowners in the emirate are expected to pay their service charges every quarter. Antonie Robertson / The National

The Dubai government and e-commerce platform Noon are partnering on a new programme to back Emirati e-commerce businesses as part of efforts to grow the local digital economy.

The programme will connect start-ups owned by UAE nationals that have a DED Trader licence with customers across the region through the Mahali online store on Noon.com, Dubai's Department of Economic Development said in a statement on Tuesday.

The programme will also provide Emirati entrepreneurs with access to business expertise, sales analytics, content creation and marketing support.

"Through our partnership with Noon, we provide local start-ups, such as DED Trader licence holders, the ability to conduct business activities electronically and accelerate their pace of growth," Omar Al Meheiri, director of follow-up and development in the department's Business Registration and Licensing arm, said.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, e-commerce in the Middle East and North Africa was gathering momentum, spurred by high internet penetration rates and a young, digitally-savvy population. The size of the e-commerce market in the region was expected to grow at a compounded annual rate of 28 per cent to $28.5 billion (Dh104.68bn) by 2022, up from $8.3bn in 2017 according to a joint study by Google and Bain & Company. As the pandemic prompted governments to impose restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, people working from home increasingly turned to online shopping, accelerating the growth of e-commerce in the region and spurring new digital businesses.

The pandemic has shifted UAE consumer habits, spurring a preference for shopping online and boosting e-commerce sales.

A study by Visa, Dubai Police and Dubai Economy in June found 68 per cent of respondents surveyed in the UAE had shopped less at physical stores since the coronavirus outbreak began while 49 per cent were shopping online more. Of those increasing online purchases, 61 per cent are using cards and digital wallets to pay instead of cash on delivery.

The new programme with Noon aims to help Emirati start-up founders take their businesses online to reach new customers.

Noon will be "offering immediate access to our huge customer database as well as being able to utilise tools such as Noon’s safe payment gateway and established logistics and fulfilment network," Noon executive Mansoor Al Ghurair said.

“Mahali will be a practical programme with tailor-made courses designed to help small business owners and entrepreneurs thrive."

Dubai recorded an 83 per cent year-on-year surge in the number of e-commerce business licences issued in the first half of the year as consumer demand for online shopping grew during the pandemic. The department issued DED Trader licences to 1,947 new businesses during the first six months of 2020, up from 1,064 in the same period a year ago, it said in July.

The number of licences approved last month rose by 235 per cent year-on-year, with 637 permits issued.

DED Trader licences are e-commerce licences that were introduced by Dubai Economy in 2017. Some 7,798 licences have been issued to date, with 58 per cent of these granted to women.

Updated: September 8, 2020 06:17 PM

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