New Amazon Payment Services Report Highlights Trends and Opportunities in Online Payment Strategies for Businesses in MENA

New Amazon Payment Services Report Highlights Trends and Opportunities in Online Payment Strategies for Businesses in MENA 

Insights from over 100 business leaders unveil key trends and drivers of change for digital payments across the region including omni-pay advances and adapting to AI

Amazon Payment Services, a regional leader in digital payments operating across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), shares its latest research on recent and upcoming changes shaping the payments industry. The report, titled “Leading Trends in Digital Payments: Driving the Real-Time Economy in MENA,” identifies key trends and shows why they matter to businesses looking to serve customers better and boost revenues. Based on a study designed and conducted by Davies Hickman Partners and sponsored by Amazon Payment Services, this report comes as part of the re:Imagine Payments thought leadership forum, designed to help inform merchants and those interested in digital payments. 


The MENA region remains one of the most dynamic and fast-growing in the world, with ambitious government strategies and visions, including the Saudi Vision 2030 and We The UAE 2031. In MENA, as elsewhere, customers are making more digital payments, with less cash being used in-store, and online retail sales rising. Technology continues to revolutionize payment processes.


“The region’s own digital trajectory is rapidly moving forward," said Peter George, Managing Director of Amazon Payment Services in MENA. "Our commitment to businesses goes beyond delivering robust and innovative payment solutions, and extends to helping businesses understand how they can effectively embrace transformation within payments. This report outlines leading trends and valuable industry findings shared directly from inspiring leaders across today’s regional landscape, setting merchants up for success to enhance their customer experience and achieve sustainable business growth.”


Based on quantitative data and insights from over 100 executives responsible for payments in businesses across Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Egypt, the report outlines leading payment trends, indicating their relevance to businesses in the region. In-depth interviews with these executives in MENA provided insights, perceptions of the industry, and predictions. 


Fast checkout and payment completion are key factors in customer loyalty for most businesses surveyed

Digital payment enhancements are taking on critical importance for businesses in the region: 81% of businesses surveyed in the report said if payment transactions were faster, revenues would increase. One reason for this is that customers are often busy and time-poor. If a transaction takes too long, they may stop short of completing it. Similarly, 83% of executives said that fast checkout and payment completion are important factors in building customer loyalty. With almost a third of businesses expecting to grow more than 20% in 2024, digital payment innovations take on significance for sustainable success.


The top five predicted drivers of change, as ranked by the executives, are the introduction of bank accounts linked to national identity, the growing use of digital wallets, better payment experiences, payment fraud reduction, and improved biometric authentication. 


The report also highlights four leading trends expected to play a major role in business and customer payment decisions over the next five years.


Omni-pay advances—more ways to pay, enabled by governments and fintechs 

The first is the rise of omni-pay advances, driven by governments and fintech companies and offering diverse payment options, such as open banking, stable coins, and central bank digital currency, aligning with the real-time economy’s demand for immediate services. Fintech innovation and payment fragmentation—where a business is able to offer multiple payment choices across different points of sale and media—were rated among the top 10 payment drivers of change for the next five years by the executives surveyed. Overall, 89% of the executives said they engage with fintechs to improve payments for their business.


Experience uplift—better payment interactions for digital customers

Consumers want immediate access to goods and services, often facilitated by digital technology. This real-time economy was rated the top consumer driver of change by the executives in the report, 64% of whom said it would be very important over the next two years.


One key building block is the growing use of digital wallets, which 87% of the executives surveyed said were becoming the preferred way for customers to pay. Improving payment experiences through social commerce is another growing priority: 59% of executives would like to advance social commerce, while 54% say that their customers would likely use livestreaming to buy products and services promoted by social media influencers.


Security centricity—earning trust reliant on payment safety

The executives in the report were clear that new ways of paying will not be adopted unless payment security

is in place. Security centricity is the third leading trend identified in the report. Businesses need robust security measures to earn customer trust, with biometric authentication and data privacy playing pivotal roles. For 68% of businesses surveyed, earning customer trust was the most important reason to deploy new payment methods. Regulators and payment providers need to help businesses feel confident about the security guardrails when introducing new payment methods. 


Adapting to artificial intelligence (AI)—targeting more efficient payments 

The fourth trend identified in the report concerns innovation driven by AI adoption in payments, as new technologies transform payment efficiency and personalization. Recent developments, including the emergence of generative AI, are amplifying the impact of this trend: 52% of the executives surveyed expected significant changes in payment methods within as little as two years and 53% said that immersive shopping experiences with augmented reality technology would be very important. 


Along with these leading trends, the report presents five building blocks for payments strategies—trust, choice, experience, behavioral change, and sustainability. Together, these topics illuminate the complex and evolving landscape of digital payments in MENA and the imperative for businesses to continue learning to adapt, innovate, and grow.


Launched under Amazon Payment Services’ re:Imagine Payments thought leadership forum, the “Leading Trends in Digital Payments: Driving the Real-Time Economy in MENA” report adds to the editorial content, podcasts, technical reports, and discussions rolled out throughout the year to support merchants as they build their businesses within a transformational landscape. Offering a roadmap for navigating the complexities of digital payments, this latest report helps equip merchants to cater to the evolving demands of the modern consumer.


As George put it: “As we continue driving essential conversations through our re:Imagine Payments forum, we are confident that this latest report presents a unique opportunity for businesses to better prepare themselves for some of the key fast-paced developments on the horizon.”

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