Saudi Arabia: Shopping in the Kingdom



Online shopping has not taken off in Saudi Arabia as compared to other parts of the world.  This is due to the lack of a sufficient infrastructure to support online shopping and the low number of credit card use in the Kingdom.  Most online shoppers in Saudi Arabia are expatriates who order items from abroad and generally have them shipped to Saudi Arabia via Aramex.


While one may believe online shopping would appeal to female shoppers in Saudi Arabia, particularly if a woman does not have a driver to take her to the shops, that is not the case.  Shopping is a major outlet and form of entertainment in Saudi Arabia and women overall prefer to go to the shops and malls.  Women may enjoy looking at online sites to get ideas but will then go out to the malls to find similar items.


Other barriers to online shopping in the Kingdom include language, shipping and delivery.  There remain many streets in Saudi Arabia without addresses or houses without numbers presenting challenges for delivery.


Eventually online shopping will become more prevalent in Saudi Arabia but the timing is not right yet.  Shopping remains a social highlight for many in Saudi Arabia.


5 Responses

  1. given the lack of any public entertainment in the kingdom one can see the appeal of shopping

  2. As I’ve said before, shopping and eating are about the only two joys left for the people there. Over-consumption is rampant on both counts.

  3. You are spot on with the delivery. Some things don’t even ship to KSA due to the nature of the item. Addresses are very difficult. We only shipped FED EX. Couldn’t find a UPS that would pick up from our compound. Having a friend with a apo was a blessing beyond belief!!

  4. I would think that most Saudis who can afford to shop for foreign and upscale local goods online can also afford drivers. Sadly, Jerry’s spot-on about shopping being a form of entertainment. That’s true to an extent in the US as well, but in Saudi Arabia, it may be one of the only activities women can do while socializing in a public setting.

  5. […] shopping sites make it difficult to order online and have items shipped to the Kingdom without an Aramex […]

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