Amazon launched in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, June 17th, replacing Souq.com – the largest e-commerce platform in the Arab world it acquired for $580 million in 2017 – with Amazon.sa. Saudi Arabia is Amazon’s 17th global marketplace. A year ago, the company launched in the United Arab Emirates, replacing Souq there too.
The new marketplace launched with close to 8,000 sellers. The sellers are mostly local, and there is no overlap with the UAE marketplace. Before Amazon opened in UAE, it started recruiting sellers in Europe and the U.S., the company has not done the same in Saudi Arabia and appears to rely on local businesses.
There is no Prime available yet, but orders over 200 SAR ($53.31) from Amazon or sellers using FBA qualify for free shipping and get delivered in 1-2 business days, or as fast as the same day in some metro areas. Amazon operates three fulfillment centers and eleven delivery hubs across Saudi Arabia.
There are millions of products available at launch, across the standard set of categories. Sellers are supplying the vast majority of them, but there is also inventory by Amazon itself and a selection of products from Amazon U.S.
Egypt is another core market for Amazon-owned Souq, and thus it is expected to be replaced with Amazon Egypt in the future.
Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets, has high internet and smartphone use penetration, and most of the over thirty million population lives in urban cities. Saudi Arabia is also in the top 20 wealthiest countries by spending power. Perhaps unsurprisingly, fashion is the biggest e-commerce category. The Souq acquisition, three years ago, allows Amazon to expand in the region more quickly than in brand new markets.