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Who is the Egyptian online buyer?

Egypt’s online buyer is usually male, in his thirties or younger and from Cairo, the Delta, Upper Egypt or Alexandria – but that is not all.

Bank foot traffic has halved since 1992, with only 50% of people visiting the bank in 2012 in order to complete banking services. It is obvious: People are more and more shifting online in order to complete transactions and buy goods.

Online payment gateway Payfort recently released a report entitled "The State of Payment in the Arab World 2014", uncovering the different ways people pay in the Arab World and the growth drivers behind each of these payment options.

Despite its “low internet penetration of 44%”, Egypt has 38.8 Internet users and 3.5 million online buyers (8% of internet penetration). It has the highest number of internet users in the Arab World and the most gender equal population in the Arab World (51% male, 49% female). However, 70% of internet buyers are male, while only 30% are female.

Online Buyers in Egypt by Age - Chart via Payfort

Online users in their 30s or younger represent 75% of overall online transactions. The report also states that “Egyptians in this age group are frequent transactors in airline bookings, travel, e-commerce, and digital goods.” Electronics, airline tickets and fashion are the three most popular shopping categories, and together they make up 40% of online transactions. Online book purchases are higher than in the rest of the region (8%) and hotel reservations are lower (6%).

What are they buying? - Chart via Payfort

More than half of these transactions take place in Cairo, whereas the Delta, Upper Egypt and Alexandria make up around 43% of the online buying population.

Where are Egypt's online buyers from? - Chart via Payfort

As for the payment method, Payfort explains that “With only 7% of the population being banked and only eight million credit and debit cards issued, Egyptian users are challenged when it comes to online payments with over 65% relying on alternative payment methods such as pre-paid cards and bill presentment services and a 80% cash-on-delivery to 20% online credit card ratio.” Pre-paid payments in Egypt amount to 8% of all online transactions.

Egypt is the second highest country in the Arab World in terms of credit and debit cards circulation, with 7.6 million credit and debit cards. It follows Saudi Arabia with 12.3 million cards, and precedes the United Arab Emirates with 5.9 million. However, in terms of Cards Per Capita, Egypt’s percentage stands at 9% - a very low number compared to Kuwait’s 97%. Credit Cards contributed 1% to Egypt’s consumption from 2008 – 2012.

Egypt’s smartphone penetration stands at 26%, compared to 74% in the United Arab Emirates and 73% in Saudi Arabia.

What are they purchasing from their Smartphones? - Chart via Payfort

Additionally, 78% of internet users are active on Facebook, making Egypt the most active “Facebooking” country in the Arab World. Twitter (17%) and LinkedIn (2%) remain the lowest.

Where are they buying? - Chart via Payfort