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How has the Corona epidemic changed the purchasing habits of Egyptians?

E-shopping in Egypt has always been associated with certain social groups – the wealthy – during the past years, but it seems that the Corona virus came to outweigh the electronic purchase compared to the traditional purchase, in an unprecedented way since the outbreak of the epidemic in Egypt last April, which has revealed a lot. From the official figures; This raises questions about the purchasing habits of Egyptians, and how has the spread of the epidemic affected them?

Despite the boom in online shopping, controversy continues in Egyptian society between those who support online purchases and those who oppose it, compared to direct purchases.

Statistics and figures

In statements to Dr. Ibrahim Ashmawy, First Assistant Minister of Supply and Head of the Internal Trade Development Authority, during a press conference on December 22, he stated that the volume of e-commerce has reached 40 billion pounds (2.54 billion dollars), according to the data of operations of cards, bank wallets and bank cards. , Indicating expectations of a rise to 400 billion pounds ($ 25.4 billion).

According to a study issued by Mastercard on November 24, the percentage of online shopping for Egyptians increased by 72% among the rest of consumers. The study stated that the sectors of clothing, electronics, health care and grocery stores are the highest in Online shopping rates.

Citizen experiences

Social media is one of the most prominent tools that contributed to the high rates of online shopping, especially with the trend of many companies and popular brands in Egypt to e-marketing, and trying to attract new consumers and customers with the escalation of the Corona epidemic and the fear of direct purchase.

Mirna Khalil (a housewife) tells Al-Jazeera Net that she has become obsessed with online shopping recently with the outbreak of Corona and reducing her leaving the house, as she has become dependent on purchasing her needs remotely, stressing that she loves to buy clothes in particular, especially with the opportunity to read the products that she wants Buy it, which at the same time protects it from exposure to the Corona virus in the event that there are infected people or those in contact with the store that you will go to upon direct purchase.

Medhat Al-Sayed (an employee of a private sector company) told Al-Jazeera Net, “Although online shopping is considered a successful way to save time and effort expended when going to stores directly, it still needs supervision, consumer protection and awareness of the consumer himself in the store or company he will deal with.” Pointing out that he had a bad experience in buying a wallet through an electronic store, but he was surprised by the peeling of the wallet skin after only 10 days, despite his previous request that the wallet be natural leather so as not to be damaged easily.

He mentioned that he tried to communicate with the store directly, especially with the high price of the wallet that he paid, but when he contacted customer service, he did not find any response from them, which made him question the integrity of electronic purchase, and question its effectiveness when dealing, especially in light of his inability. To communicate with the online store.

The future of e-commerce

Information technology and Internet expert, Adel Abdel Moneim, confirms to Al-Jazeera Net that the idea of ​​buying online in Egypt is still somewhat recent, in light of the absence of a culture of dealing with communication technology and its emergence in recent years, which makes the infrastructure for e-commerce in need of further modernization and development, Especially with a lot of stores that have appeared on social media, which operate informally.

He stressed the importance of using means of verifying the data and the identity of sellers and buyers, which creates oversight from the concerned authorities on the data on the buying and selling process.

Economic and legal implications

In turn, economist Wael Al-Nahas confirmed to Al-Jazeera Net that electronic commerce is expected to witness a significant increase in its rates, against the background of the repercussions of the Corona virus affecting the direct market, and the cultural shifts that Egypt has witnessed in recent years, and the trend towards digital transformation through the use of many citizens of phones Mobile, credit card and smart card services; This may be reflected in the Egyptian market, and make the transformation of many companies to electronic transactions an imperative in order to display their products and work on marketing them electronically.

However, Al-Nahas believes that the progress of e-commerce will be subject to the guarantees provided by companies and stores to the consumer, which must take into account the after-sales services, so that the consumer guarantees the quality of the product, and has the ability to return the product and communicate with customer service if he needs to.

He added that there is another challenge related to many Egyptian groups that still prefer direct dealings, and this is something that appears in the different governorates that witness high rates of illiteracy and the absence of technology.

For her part, President of the Specific Union of Consumer Protection Associations, Souad Al-Deeb, told Al-Jazeera Net that the absence of a consumer protection law during online purchases results in many problems that appear in the form of complaints received by the Consumer Protection Agency.

It is noteworthy that the head of the Communications and Information Technology Committee in the House of Representatives, Representative Ahmed Badawi, had stated in his statements during a press conference on December 19 that the next parliament will be at the top of its priorities to legislate the “electronic commerce” law.

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