E-commerce in Saudi Arabia saw record growth of 74% during the months of March and April this year, while the direct retail trade dropped by 30% over the same period, according to Saudi Payments, which is wholly owned by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA).

Ziyad Al-Essa, vice president for business sector at Saudi Payments, said the increase was directly attributed to the heavy reliance of consumers on e-commerce due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Likewise, it was natural for the growth in retail trade to shrink given the precautionary measures taken to stem the pandemic.

“We are in the process of launching a series of major initiatives that will stimulate e-transactions, the most important of which is the Instant Payment System, which would accelerate the process of transforming Saudi society into a cashless one,” he said.

“This is part of our commitment to implement the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 as well as the goals of the Financial Sector Programme. We will launch the first pilot version of this project with a number of our partners from local banks by the end of this year, and we aim to launch it in its final form in the first quarter of 2021,” he added.

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