With e-Commerce assuming greater role amid restrictions to reduce the spread of Covid-19, Qatar's consumer sector is one of the least affected by the pandemic but logistics issues ought to be strengthened further, according to market experts.
Highlighting the mixed response of the sector to the pandemic, KPMG Qatar said as the e-commerce (is) picking up, the traditional retail shopping (is) getting impacted. "Logistics and supply chain issues are to be sorted out in the short run," it said a report.
There are as many as 10 companies under the consumer goods and services sector in the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE).
Already leading retailers and malls have started their online sales and going by the reports, there is a long queue and substantial wait period, analysts said, adding many small neighbourhood groceries and third-party app providers have embarked on online facilitation.
Qatar has already launched Theqa’ — the new website of Qatar’s e-commerce gateway — aimed at stimulating Qatar’s e-commerce sector and develop local online retail sales.
It is learnt that the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) is drafting an e-commerce licensing code to organise shopping via social media and local e-commerce companies.
The purpose behind drafting such a law is to protect consumers and regulate the work of these companies and websites by providing them with commercial licences, legitimising their transactions, and protecting intellectual property.
KPMG Qatar said utilities, telecom and healthcare sectors were also least affected by the pandemic.
Qatar government has announced a QR75bn stimulus package to the private sector, apart from an additional QR10bn fund support to the QSE.
Much of the QR75bn package will be in the form of supporting the repo activities of the Qatar Central Bank through which the cost of borrowing is expected to be brought down considerably for the corporate sector, a credit rating agency note said.
"However, though these measures may soften the immediate impact, the cost of funding them is likely to create a prolonged and longer-term drag on economic performance," KPMG Qatar said.
Among the sectors in Qatar that could be affected due to the pandemic are energy, due to oil prices coupled with a prospect of low energy demand; financial, where the impact could be due to deferring of payments by businesses and individuals which may potentially lead up to non-performing assets; and industrials, which has to deal with global supply chain disruptions along with volatile demand.
On a global scale, it said demand-based assets are most at risk from a downward-value adjustment, particularly those investments exposed to the travel sector (airports and hospitality) and those directly correlated with gross domestic product or GDP performance (ports).