Social Commerce Industry in UAE to Reach $1.22 Billion in 2024

Social commerce is expected to grow at a rapid rate over the medium term.

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  • [Image source: Krishna Prasad/MITSMR Middle East]

    An increasing number of young shoppers are flocking to social channels for product inspiration and purchases. This trend is projected to continue in 2024, resulting in a high-growth period for the social commerce market. 

    According to the UAE Social Commerce Intelligence Report, the social commerce industry is expected to grow by 22.7% annually to reach $1.22 billion in 2024. The social commerce industry is expected to grow steadily over the forecast period, recording a CAGR of 18.5% during 2024-2029. The social commerce GMV in the country will reach $2.86 billion by 2029.

    In the UAE, young shoppers are using social channels for high-end purchases. Augmented reality has played a crucial role in driving online shopping experiences for buyers. The virtual try-on feature, for instance, gained widespread popularity among shoppers in the UAE. 

    Going forward, the report says innovation will gain further momentum in the market. Overall, there’s a robust growth outlook for the social commerce industry in the UAE over the next three to four years.

    The time spent on social media is rising rapidly in the Emirati nation. According to the RetailX Middle East E-commerce Region 2023 report, people spend nearly three hours on social media platforms in the UAE. 

    This time is spent researching products, with 79% of the people looking for brands or things to purchase on social platforms. Furthermore, 59% of the people have stated that they bought products on social channels over the last 12 months.

    In another report from Snap Inc. and Havas Media Network, 54% of the consumers stated that they are discovering new products and brands through social channels in the UAE. The report also revealed that 50% used social media platforms for product recommendations and reviews.

    Snap Inc. also revealed that over half of Snapchat users send messages and pictures of products to their friends daily while shopping. This presents a huge opportunity for brands to connect with the preferences and interests of the younger generation. The market is projected to report strong growth as the social buying trend is poised to accelerate across the UAE.

    While clothing is one of the most popular shopping categories among social commerce buyers, young-generation consumers are also into buying high-end products, according to Snap Inc.

    The report from Snap Inc. revealed that 45% of young shoppers use social media platforms in the discovery phase for luxury buys. Furthermore, 84% of the purchases are completed through social channels. This highlights a strong trend in the growing social commerce market in the Emirates. Luxury brands can tap into social platforms to reach young shoppers and accelerate their revenue growth in the UAE.

    Social platforms have added features like AR to entice luxury shoppers. The virtual try-on feature, for instance, has been crucial for 81% of luxury shoppers in the UAE. For social media platforms looking to tap into the growing market, offering such innovative features can aid growth over the medium term.

    Amid the growing trend of social buying, platforms are enjoying a substantial growth period in the country, registering significant revenue increases during the first six months of 2023.

    SleekFlow, a leading software platform for social commerce in the Asia-Pacific region, reported an impressive fivefold increase in revenue in the UAE during the first half of 2023. 

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