Skip to main content

Saudi Arabia buys into e-commerce

A crown prince bent on modernization, young and tech-savvy consumers, and a global pandemic are transforming commerce in the desert kingdom.
Saudi women attend the Gitex 2018 exhibition at the Dubai World Trade Center in Dubai on Oct. 16, 2018. Gitex (Gulf Information Technology Exhibition) is a consumer computer and electronics trade show.

In October 2019, when Saudi Arabia introduced a hallmark e-commerce law, few would have imagined that five months later a global pandemic would all but shutter in-person shopping and the desert kingdom would ban most cash payments.

“There was a rush of businesses trying to go online,” Mazen Al Darrab, co-founder of the Riyadh-based e-commerce enablement company Zid, told Al-Monitor. “The COVID-19 measures doubled our percentage of users.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.