Online shopping in Dubai is likely about to change (a lot)
Our credit cards need to be locked away in a very secure, very far away place for the near future….
After what has seemed like a painfully long negotiation process for the online shopping addicts among us, but has really only been a couple of months, US online shopping giant Amazon has apparently purchased UAE-e-commerce site Souq.com.
The two have been in talks since late last year, when we first found out the US retail behemoth was interested in expanding into the UAE (it’s likely they’ll now set up an office here).
Negotiations hit a stalemate in January, when neither party could agree to a final figure (Bloomberg valued the deal at $1bn).
*ALSO READ: 47 home delivery options in the UAE*
At the time, Souq was running out of options, with mall operator Majid Al Futtaim also pulling out of bidding – and the looming threat of noon.com, a $1bn rival platform backed by Emirati billionaire Mohamed Alabbar and the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
Now, The National reports that the full acquisition of Souq, which generates 78 per cent of e-commerce in the Middle East and North Africa, by Amazon has been agreed.
But what does it mean to us, the everyday shopper?
1. We might be able to buy Amazon products that aren’t available here now.
First off your Kindle bookshelf in the UAE is likely to get a LOT better. It’s currently full of only Dickens and the like (and, let’s be honest, it’s the e-reader to rule them all). Also, you’ll be able to get your hands on Amazon Echo (like a UE Boom but slightly cheaper) and Alexa (Amazon’s answer to Siri, who can order you a beverage, stream your John Legend playlist, and check the forecast for Saturday – probably all at once) and Amazon Fire TV (an Amazon-ified streaming box for services like Netflix and Amazon’s own Prime Video).
2. Online shopping could get cheaper.
Virgin Megastore et al. beware: competition will descend on thee. We don’t know how much cheaper it will get, if at all, but we’re hoping that a bit more good-natured rivalry in the marketplace might lower our credit card bills a smidge.
3. Our addiction will be fed quicker.
Amazon offers a service called Prime that (for an annual fee) guarantees free same, or next-day shipping – perfect for people, like us, who impatiently hound the mailman every day until our package of things we already have plenty of variations of at home arrives.
And don’t worry, as always, we’ll keep you updated as Amazon in the UAE news progresses…