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Latest News’s 4th annual MENA report finds cash on delivery usage halved, amongst maturing digital economy



  • 658% growth in regional payment volumes since 2020, with a 78% YOY increase
  • 180% growth in consumers shopping online at least once a week in Saudi Arabia and 140% in UAE and Kuwait
  • Preference for cash on delivery in the region halves from 41% in 2020 to 20% in 2023
  • 33% of MENA consumers report they’ve been a victim of payment fraud
  • Third of all MENA shoppers would shift to a competitor website following a single failed payment

DUBAI, UAE, May 14, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Amidst an era marked by swift digital transformation, the digital economy in the MENA region demonstrates robust growth, soaring by an impressive 78% year-on-year in digital payment volumes since 2020. These revelations and more are unveiled in’s 4th annual MENA e-commerce report, titled: “The state of digital commerce in MENA 2024, A tale of rapid, sustained growth,” launched this morning.

48 months of exponential growth
The report highlights unprecedented growth in the MENA region’s digital payment volumes, as’s total processing value witnessed a staggering 658% surge since the onset of 2020. Notably, a remarkable 78% year-on-year growth between 2022 and 2023. This surge is a testament to the region’s accelerated adoption of digital commerce, which continues to see a deepening consumer preference for online shopping.

Innovations such as AFT (Automated Funds Transfer) have played a pivotal role in facilitating this trend. Furthermore, the growth momentum of processing volumes is underscored by it securing its acquiring license in the UAE in 2023. As continues to expand, its trajectory mirrors the overall upward trajectory of digital commerce in the region

The findings also shed light on a robust increase of 56% in the number of MENA consumers engaging in e-commerce weekly or more since 2020. Furthermore, the growth rate for daily digital shoppers in MENA surged by 80% with Saudi Arabia leading the digital shopping spree with an astounding 180% growth in consumers shopping online at least once a week, followed closely by the UAE and Kuwait, each experiencing a 140% growth. This data underscores the deep and consistent change in online shopping habits among consumers in the region, which in turn demonstrates an increased trust in the system; a barrier to adoption noted in the 2020 report.

Additionally, the report highlights MENA consumers’ optimistic outlook on their future online spend, revealing that half of all shoppers anticipate an increase in their online spending over the next 12 months. Particularly, online shoppers in Saudi Arabia express significant enthusiasm, with 53% anticipating an increase in their spending in the coming year.

The increase in predictive spending demonstrates that there is resiliency and robustness to the digital economy in the MENA region. Despite increasing inflationary pressures and technical recessions breaking out across other developed economies, MENA presents an oasis of opportunity for global brands to expand and develop new operations in the market.

The unmistakable demise of cash 
Discussing the payments landscape, the report marks a significant shift away from cash on delivery towards digital payment methods.  Over the past 48 months, the preference for cash on delivery in the region has halved from 41% to 20%, reflecting broader acceptance and trust in digital payments, cards, and digital wallets. This shift is notably pronounced in countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Kuwait, where the preference for cash has dropped to as low as 10% among the population.

This presents a unique chance for businesses to keep their costs down. With new technologically advanced payment solutions that present a more scalable and consumer-friendly experience. The previously increasing complexity and cost of operations, such as cash management and shipping logistics, for businesses in the region will continue to decline.

Payment security is the key loyalty driver
The report reveals that the number of respondents ranking payment security as the most important feature offered by an e-commerce business is growing exponentially. Furthermore, the silent revenue killer, namely false declines, continues to grow in the region with 23% reporting experiencing a falsely declined payment in the last three months. Moreover, 33% of MENA consumers report being victims of payment fraud, and understandably, security is valued. Alarmingly, a third of all shoppers surveyed indicated they would switch to a competitor’s website following a single failed payment.

Remo Giovanni Abbondandolo, General Manager, MENA, at, reflects on these findings: “The sustained growth and rapid evolution of digital commerce in MENA are reshaping how consumers shop and pay. Our report not only highlights the remarkable strides in digital payment adoption but also signals a growing confidence among consumers in the digital economy.

“This report makes a case for the continued need for fintechs to analyze and optimize every aspect of their e-commerce experience as consumers become more deeply connected to digital shopping and payments. As our report identifies, a third of all shoppers surveyed would switch to a competitor if they experienced a single failed payment. So the cost of getting your payment performance wrong has never been higher. That’s why as a payment solution provider to businesses across the region and globally, drives performance in this dynamic landscape,” he added.

As continues to chart the course of digital commerce in MENA, the “The state of digital commerce in MENA 2024, A tale of rapid, sustained growth” report offers invaluable insights for merchants, policymakers, and stakeholders aiming to capitalize on the opportunities presented by this digital evolution., a leading global payment solutions provider, has diligently tracked the booming e-commerce landscape in the region for the past four years. The latest report delves into a retrospective analysis of 48-month trends, calculating growth rates to grasp the magnitude of change in digital commerce within MENA.

About processes payments for thousands of companies that shape the digital economy. Our global digital payments network supports over 145 currencies and delivers high-performance payment solutions across the world, processing billions of transactions annually.

With flexible and scalable technology, we help enterprise merchants boost acceptance rates, reduce processing costs, combat fraud, and turn payments into a major revenue driver. Headquartered in London and with 16 offices worldwide, is trusted by leading brands such as Alshaya Group, Botim, Dyson, Hunger Station, Instashop, Qlub, Majid Al Futtaim, Netflix, SHEIN, Sony and Tamara.

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Fintech startup Copper forced to discontinue banking services amid Synapse fiasco




A segment of customers holding deposits with fintech startup Copper find themselves unable to access their accounts, a consequence of disruptions involving the embattled banking-as-a-service platform Synapse.

Copper joins several companies impacted by an ongoing crisis at Synapse, which declared bankruptcy last month. Acting as a “middleware provider” connecting fintech startups with banks, Synapse was poised for acquisition by TabaPay; however, TechCrunch reported the deal fell through earlier this month.

Forbes also noted customers of Yotta Technologies and Juno Finance experiencing similar issues accessing their deposit accounts.

Founded four years ago, Copper initially introduced a banking platform aimed at teens and families. In 2022, the company secured $29 million in funding, boasting over 800,000 users and earning a finalist spot for Startup of the Year at the GeekWire Awards.

Copper CEO Eddie Behringer informed GeekWire on Tuesday of the company’s plans to transition away from banking services, focusing instead on its newer “Earn” product, which assists users in earning money through surveys and games.

However, this plan accelerated earlier this month. In a message to customers on May 12, Behringer announced the discontinuation of debit card and deposit account offerings within 24 hours.

Behringer cited the recent discovery that the banking middleware provider Copper utilizes is sunsetting their service imminently, which necessitated the premature closure of banking accounts despite prior planning.

Over the past weekend, Copper notified some customers of delays in fund delivery via email.

Behringer assured that the disruption impacted only a small number of individuals.

Despite transitioning away from banking services, Behringer emphasized Copper’s commitment to its original mission of providing financial wellness and education.

“Moving forward, we’re going to continue to focus on providing not just teens and families, but all Americans the ability to earn money through Copper,” he stated.

Copper’s revenue has surged by 160% year-over-year, largely driven by the success of its “Earn” product.

The company intends to establish white-label partnerships with banks to generate software-as-a-service revenue.

Behringer and Copper co-founder Stefan Berglund previously co-founded Snap Raise, an online fundraising platform for youth groups based in Seattle.

With 30 employees and ongoing hiring efforts, Copper has secured a total funding of $42 million to date. Investors include Fiat Ventures, Panoramic Ventures, Insight Partners, Invesco Private Capital, PSL Ventures, Mana Ventures, Western Technology Investment, Clocktower Ventures, Index Ventures, Scout Fund, Launchpad Capital, Financial Venture Studio, Maven Ventures, Samsung Next, and Arnold Ventures.


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FWD Group pens five-year agreement with AWS to drive innovation




FWD Group, a prominent insurance provider, has unveiled a five-year agreement for technology services with Amazon Web Services (AWS) as part of its cloud-first strategy.

This collaboration aims to bolster FWD Group’s digital infrastructure and capabilities by harnessing AWS’ expertise in cloud and AI technologies to drive innovation and customer-centricity.

AWS will continue to host core business applications for FWD Group, offering enhanced agility, scalability, and resilience as FWD transitions away from operating its own onsite data centers.

Committed to delivering innovative insurance solutions, FWD Group has embraced a digital-first mindset, prioritizing cloud computing as a comprehensive business strategy, seamlessly integrating cloud-based infrastructure and capabilities across its business functions.

With its array of cloud services, encompassing computing power, storage, and AI technologies, AWS underscores its dedication to supporting companies in the financial and insurance sectors to drive digital transformation and elevate customer experiences.

Sandeep Pandey, Group Chief Technology & Operations Officer of FWD Group, affirmed, “At FWD, cloud computing is not just a priority for the technology function but a holistic business strategy. This digital-first mindset has enabled us to establish operational infrastructure and capabilities that are secure, cloud-based, and fully integrated across business functions and with valued partners like AWS. With these foundations in place, we can further scale our generative artificial intelligence (AI) deployment efficiently, effectively, and responsibly, aligning with our vision of transforming perceptions about insurance.”

The adoption of cloud technology has yielded significant benefits to FWD’s software development and deployment processes, resulting in accelerated time-to-market and enhanced customer experiences.

By the conclusion of 2023, an impressive 97% of FWD Group’s applications had completed migration to the cloud, marking a substantial increase from the 27% recorded as of December 31, 2020.

Additionally, 93% of the applications earmarked for retirement have been successfully decommissioned, underscoring the company’s commitment to modernizing its technology infrastructure and optimizing operational efficiency.

Francessca Vasquez, Vice President of Professional Services and Generative Artificial Intelligence Innovation Center at AWS, commented, “AWS has been supporting companies in the financial and insurance sectors worldwide for over a decade, enabling them to better serve their customers with cloud and AI technologies. FWD Group’s ambition to leverage the power of cloud and generative AI underscores their dedication to digital transformation and customer-centricity. We are thrilled to continue supporting FWD Group with AWS’s proven reliability and capabilities, facilitating innovation acceleration, cost savings, efficiency enhancement, and business expansion.”



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Unveiling Key Insights from Day Two of The London Blockchain Conference



As the inaugural London conference continues into day two, attendees heard from industry experts on Reducing Risk & Improving Trust with Blockchain.

LONDON, May 22, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The London Blockchain Conference continued to captivate attendees with yet another day filled with informative and thought-provoking speakers. The discussions revolved around crucial topics such as regulatory frameworks for Digital Currencies, enabling the growth of blockchain and Blockchain Venture Capital. 

Today we heard from Steven Bartlett, Entrepreneur, Investor and Author of “The Diary of a CEO”, who kickstarted Day 2 with a fireside chat with Mark Lobel from the BBC. He delved into how B2B enterprises can adapt, thrive, and stay ahead in an ever-changing marketplace. The session highlighted the dynamic landscape of B2B interactions in the digital era, exploring innovative strategies, emerging trends, and invaluable insights to empower businesses for success.

Other sessions included:

  • Universal Plastic and Next-Gen Verification: Blockchain, AI, and Social EngagementAlvaro Bravo, CEO of Universal Plastics, discussed how technologies like Blockchain and AI revolutionise verification processes, making them user-friendly and accessible to all and how the Universal Plastic initiative is a prime example of how these technologies can draw corporate interest and promote environmental responsibility.
  • The Role of Governments in Fostering Innovation – A distinguished panel including Dean Armstrong KC from Maitland Chambers, Alun Cairns MP of UK Parliament, Tom Spiller, Legal Director (Rosenblatt), Stefan Kromolicki from APCO, Mayor Hillary Schieve from City of Reno, and Elizaveta Palaznik, Independent Consultant, discussed whether effective policymaking and government intervention can catalyse growth and societal progress or if the market should determine its destiny.
  • Currency of Tomorrow: Navigating the Future of Money – This session featured insights from Amarachi Amaechi, Co-founder at Bitpowr Technologies Inc, Kaj Burchardi, Head of Emerging Technology at Boston Consulting Group, Vincent Mele, Founder at Otranto, Blake O’Donnell, Partner at Punter Southall Law, and Simit Naik, Director, Commercial & Strategy at nChain. They dissected emerging trends, technological innovations, and regulatory dynamics shaping the next era of monetary systems.
  • Navigating the Academic Landscape of Blockchain Research: Opportunities, Challenges, and Collaborative InitiativesAlessio Pagani, Research Director at nChain, dived into the latest blockchain research within academia, examining the opportunities, challenges, and real-world impacts stemming from blockchain innovation in higher education.
  • Monetizing Strategies for Content in Web3 – This session featured Utkarsh Amitabh, CMO, at 5ire, Anuradha Chowdhary, Founder of ZeroTo3 Collective, Tony Mugavero, CEO of Rad, and Sunny Jiang, Founder of MaasDAO, who presented innovative strategies for content creators to thrive in the decentralized, blockchain-powered ecosystem of Web3. They discussed how Web3 technologies can revolutionize content creation economics, enabling them to establish new revenue streams and engage with their audiences in novel ways.
  • Breaking Barriers: Paving the Way for the UK to Emerge as a Global Digital Asset and Emerging Tech Hub – Professor Naseem Naqvi MBE, President of British Blockchain Association, Sean Kiernan, Founder of Greengage, and Marcus Foster, Head of Policy Campaigns at Startup Coalition, dissected the puzzle pieces required for the UK to lead the global tech race.
  • Mining and Transaction Processing: How Mining Will Evolve Post-HalvingJim Niemeijer Partner at Pantheon, Kurt Wuckert Jr, Chief Bitcoin Historian and Co-Founder of GorillaPool, and Jacopo Gil Casas, VP Business Development & Strategy, CS Global Energy explored the upcoming Bitcoin halvening event’s impact on miner profitability. They discussed Bitcoin mining economics, the difference between mining subsidies and transaction fees, and why mining operations need to turn into transaction processors to compete in the future.
  • Block Dojo Global Venture Builder – the audience heard from two lively speakers who demonstrated Blockchain use cases driving value today. The first was Michael Olagunju, CEO of ExamSolutions – the multi-modal AI learning platform. Michael discussed ExamSolution’s unique B2C and enterprise offering for STEM-based learning, via an AI model which captures a student’s responses as they’re written, and offers feedback in real-time. Today, the company is amongst the world’s largest online exam preparation providers, with over 4,000 video tutorials and live streaming support. Next up was Robin Russel, co-founder of Satva Trust – the ClimateDataTech company leveraging blockchain technologies to drive decarbonisation. Satva provides independent data on ship emissions and fuel consumptions, enabling global benchmarking across the world’s fleet in real-time.
  • Best Practices For Enterprise Blockchain Adoption: Tibor Mérey – MD and Partner at Boston Consulting Group – discussed why he remains bullish on Web and Blockchain. Tibor shared lessons from 150+ blockchain and web3 projects BCG has done in the enterprise space. He outlined the four burning questions any blockchain or web3 project needs to answer: i) Does it matter? ii) Will it work? iii) Can we win? iv) Will it grow?

Please register here if you would like to attend or listen to any of the sessions today. 

About the London Blockchain Conference


At the London Blockchain Conference, we show how Blockchain will change the world and help people see another way to manage data, build scalable on-chain solutions and achieve great things. We do this by creating valuable, insightful, and engaging events that educate and inform, allowing you to connect and network to build strong business relationships. Our conference is the best avenue to see blockchain innovations, ecosystem announcements, product launches, technology updates, keynote speeches, panels, and fireside chats from blockchain leaders. Join us and experience it for yourself. 

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