Oman flag Oman: Buying and Selling

E-commerce in Oman


Internet access
Oman has a population of 4.6 million people, and the internet penetration rate is estimated at 71.1%. The sultanate is coming very close to 100% smartphone use penetration: the country has scored full mark on its mobile broadband penetration and its 4G coverage also reaches an average level. In recent years, Oman has made great efforts to build up its IT infrastructure both at governmental and private levels. Oman’s mobile phone subscriber base crossed 7 million at the end of April 2017, with a penetration rate of more than 150% (National Centre of Statistical Information - NCSI). The most popular web search engines in Oman are Google (97.2%), Bing and Yahoo (1.6% and 0.9% respectively).
E-commerce market
The e-commerce market in Oman accounts for only 1% of total retail sales. Currently there is limited e-commerce activity in the private sector in the country, whereas the government is actively promoting a “digital society” and “e-government” services through the Information Technology Authority (ITA). Although reliable figures for the Omani e-commerce market value are not available, according to a study by Frost & Sullivan, internet spending in the Middle East as a whole is booming, with GCC countries expecting e-commerce revenues to reach US$ 41.5 billion by 2020, a 40% increase. Websites such as eBay, Aliexpress, Namshi, InvestEasy and Bayan Customs are famous among Omani residents. Omani e-shoppers mostly buy clothing, airline tickets, beauty care products, and hotel services. When it comes to cross-border e-shopping, China remains the main country of origin for ordering furnishing, machinery, construction materials, etc. In order to boost e-commerce and provide safe and secure e-commerce transactions, the Central Bank of Oman recently launched a national debit card payment gateway infrastructure for e-commerce transactions, the “Oman Net Debit Card E-Payment Gateway” infrastructure. Important factors influencing Omani e-shoppers are the ease of use, price convenience and post-sales service. On the other hand, major deterrents influencing e-consumer are the inability to touch and see the products, the concerns about the security of online payments and the impersonal shopping experience, together with problems related with the shipment of goods. There is an increasing trend among businesses especially among Omani owned SMEs and entrepreneurs to promote and sell their merchandise through social media. Data shows that Oman had 2.6 million social media users as of January 2018, around 55% of the Sultanate’s population. The total number of Instagram users reached 1 million, of which 68% are male. Finally, Oman had a total of 675,000 Snapchat users in 2017 (Hootsuite).

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Latest Update: May 2024

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