Two years ago, Amazon made its first major move into the Middle East with its 2017 acquisition of online marketplace Souq for $580 million. Now the e-Commerce giant is further asserting its own identity in the region with a rebrand: Souq is now Amazon.
Souq.com automatically redirects visitor to Amazon.ae with a message reading: “Your Souq is now Amazon.ae.”Souq’s web sites in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, however, presently remain unchanged.
The marketplace, based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is the largest online seller in the entire Middle East region.The now-Amazon.ae features more than 30 million products, including five million from Amazon U.S. As of March 2019, Souq.com had 73.4% market share of the online shopping category in Egypt and 49% in the UAE, according to SimilarWeb.
Under Amazon’s umbrella, Souq gained significant traffic: average global monthly visits rose 9% between April 2018 and March 2019, SimilarWeb said. Additionally, mobile traffic has skyrocketed, rising from 32% of traffic in 2017 to 51.7% of traffic as of March 2019.
Souq customers will still be able to access their existing orders and account information on Amazon.ae and the Amazon.ae app, and Amazon is taking care of any warranty claims, according to the Amazon.ae web site. For the first time at Amazon, Arabic language can be used on the app and the web site, Ronaldo Mouchawar, Co-Founder of Souq and VP of Amazon MENA said in a statement.
Access to the growing Middle Eastern market is important for Amazon, especially after it shuts down its China marketplace to focus on cross-border sales to Chinese consumers. The MENA (Middle East, North Africa) e-Commerce market reached $8.3 billion by 2017, and is projected to grow 3.5X by 2022, reaching a total market size of $28.5 billion and a penetration rate of 7% of total retail sales, according to Bain & Co.