Qatar’s e-commerce industry will continue to witness “steady growth” due to the country’s high Internet and digital penetration rates, an official of a venture and growth capital platform has said.
Dr Tejinder Singh, 360 Nautica founder and chairman, expressed “high hopes” for the industry, citing government forecast that Qatar’s e-commerce market is expected to witness a threefold growth by 2022.
Figures released by the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) revealed that Qatar’s e-commerce market is expected to grow from QR4.7bn ($1.3bn) in 2017 to QR12bn ($3.2bn) in the next five years. 
Similarly, more companies in the country are adapting to digital technology, the MoTC said, adding that e-commerce among consumers in Qatar jumped to 20% in 2017 compared to 14% recorded in the previous year.
As of 2018, Qatar posted a 94% digital penetration rate and 100% Internet penetration rate, according to official figures.
“I absolutely have high hopes for the e-commerce market in Qatar; the Internet penetration is so high, as well as the access to smartphones and electronic gadgets. And with people being tech savvy, the stage is already set,” Singh told Gulf Times.
The MoTC also said the developments in Qatar’s e-commerce market are consistent with global growth rates, which stood at $2.2tn in 2017.
HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti, during the ‘e-Commerce Forum Qatar 2018’ held in April, reported strong domestic e-commerce performance, particularly in the service sector.
However, Singh noted that while there have been some successful e-commerce platforms in the market, the industry will continue to meet several challenges going forward.
“There are other players who want to experiment with e-commerce…and there are instances where e-commerce has been very receptive and very well-received but I think there are still a few things that need to be strengthened such as the basic ecosystem, the banking system, the access to the payment gateways, and the trust factor, so all of that must be addressed,” Singh pointed out.
He added: “You could actually regulate the banks that are receiving the premium gateway charges, and you could regulate the delivery services; you could open a delivery centre because basically e-commerce is predominantly a delivery network.”
During the ‘e-Commerce Forum Qatar 2018’, HE al-Sulaiti announced the launching of ministry’s ‘e-commerce Guidelines’, which aims to help local merchants successfully implement an e-commerce business. 
The transport minister also announced that the MoTC will launch an innovative project called ‘Trustmark’ by the end of the year to strengthen consumer confidence in Qatar’s e-commerce industry.