Saudi Arabia has been exhibiting tremendous growth in internet users, social media users and e-commerce over the last decade and based on the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, the next ten years seem promising and exciting for Saudi businesses and businesses abroad.
What’s Vision 2030
It is Saudi Arabia’s vision for the future of the Kingdom, aiming to be a global investment powerhouse and the hub connecting 3 continents: Europe, Asia and Africa.
It’s important to realise that 91% of Saudi Arabia’s 32.9m population are internet users. That’s 30 million users! 25 million of those (83% of internet users) are active social media users which crowns the Saudi’s as the most present and active online in the region. These statistics are put into perspective when we consider that 90% of the UK’s population are internet users and 66% of those are active social media users.
What this really shows however, is that there is a significant appetite for digital consumption in Saudi Arabia - it continues to grow and is now being addressed by the Government within Vision 2030.
Without further ado, we visit the points discussed in Vision 2030 which will likely impact the digital marketing landscape in the region in coming years.
Supporting Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)
Saudi Arabia views that supporting small businesses is one of the main contributors for a thriving economy. Vast marketing opportunities already exist and are being utilised by SMEs via social media and other digital platforms. The government promises facilitating further access to these channels as well as support with marketing, exporting businesses’ products and services.
The Kingdom also wishes to collaborate with international stakeholders and leverage e-commerce to not only aid small business owners, but to create new business opportunities, develop specialised training programs, attract venture capital funds and motivate entrepreneurs.
The Goal: Is to increase the SMEs’ GDP contribution from 20% to 35%.
Equal Opportunities: Re-visited
Over 50 percent of graduates in Saudi Arabia are female, yet women’s participation in the workforce only forms 22%. This is why the Kingdom says it will continue to develop and invest in female talent to enable them to contribute to societal and economic development and increase their participation to 30%.
Did you know? Instagram is the 3rd most popular social network platform in Saudi Arabia with nearly 18 million active users. 60% of users are female.
The aim here is to further expand the scope of online services provided by the government to include areas such as education, healthcare and geographic information. The government will also be supporting the wider use of cloud application, management systems and data sharing platforms.
Improving e-government services may seem like a less obvious cause of change in the digital landscape, however government agencies will also be streamlining their services and diversifying communication channels in line with governmental requirements. The result is a domino effect which targets larger corporations down to smaller business to optimise and provide higher quality services to consumers online.
What can we take from this?
One viewpoint is that the three areas discussed in Vision 2030, if executed successfully, will create huge demand for digital services, both in marketing and website development to consistently deliver optimal online solutions for businesses and end consumers.
In reality, no one can anticipate what anything will be like in 2030, which takes us to the main and most important point of this article – and that is ‘start now’.
Start strategizing, optimising, implementing, creating content and targeting. Just start.
Saudi Arabia is already the dominant player in the gulf region in terms of social media and e-commerce. It has the largest number of Internet, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat users with Instagram being the most widely used app for e-commerce.
According to Jonathan Labin, Managing Director, Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan at Facebook: Over 70% of Instagram users follow a business and 75% of those take action after seeing a post, e.g. visiting website, sharing with friends, etc, which
“makes Instagram one of the most important mobile advertising platforms in MENA today.”
The odds have never been better to achieve commercial success in the Middle East by expanding and reaching out to new Arabic audiences. By establishing a comprehensive inbound strategy and dedicating the right level of investment, you can transform your business, whether it’s a B2B or B2C, and establish yourself as a renowned brand in the region – the opportunities and potential are limitless.
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