2019 Marketplace Expansion Index

The ecommerce and sharing economies are booming. Thousands of fast-growth marketplaces are emerging all around the world.
This index examines the top 36 countries for ecommerce and sharing economy platforms to expand.

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Saudi Arabia

2019 Rank # | 2018 Rank #

Big Mover



Saudi Arabia

One of the largest markets in the Gulf world, plagued by internal and external crises.

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Marketplace Expansion Index Rank

Same ranking as 2018


  • Reforms have helped grow the size of the marketplace
  • Largest online retail opportunity in Gulf, also growing at a quick rate
  • Government looking to relax regulations on freelance employment


  • Lowest overall ecommerce as a percentage of retail
  • Widespread political crisis hampering ability of global marketplaces to setup
  • Very low percentage of native English speakers

Facts You Can't Forget


Price Comparisons. 57 percent percent of Saudi Arabians believe that the biggest reason to use gig economy services is cost reduction.


Focus on Jobs. The kingdom aims to create 1.2 million jobs by 2022 in order to reduce unemployment to 9 percent.


Follow the Money. Saudi Arabia hopes to invest more than $2 trillion into the tech sector by 2030.

Ranking Highlights

For our full explanation, visit our methodology page



The fundamentals of any society and enterprise, including: payment infrastructure, ease of doing business, and Logistics Performance Index.



You’re only as good as your people. Factors in this category include: levels of English proficiency and participation in freelance employment.

Ecommerce Activity


This category assessed ecommerce opportunity size, retail ecommerce growth and ecommerce as a percentage of retail transactions.



The fate of foreign entrants, based on the volume of cross-border transactions and if a global marketplace dominates that geography.

Essential Reading

"Uber and Careem… spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on initiatives to attract female Saudi drivers to their platform. Four months later, Careem says it has over 2,000 female drivers on the road, and Uber says it has “a handful."

"In Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, technology is a key driver of change with the aim of developing digital infrastructure, supporting associated economic entities and leading the digital economy."

"Saudi Arabia’s central bank has signed a deal with US -based Ripple to help banks in the kingdom settle payments using blockchain software, as Gulf regulators begin to explore new forms of financial technology."