Qatar - Country Commercial Guide

Describes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and covers prominent B2B websites.

Last published date: 2020-11-17

Qatar boasts one of the highest Internet penetration rates in the world, exceeding 95%.  A 2018 study conducted by Northwestern University in Qatar found that social media penetration was among the highest in the world, with 93% of Qatari nationals using WhatsApp, 70% using Instagram, and 64% using Snapchat.  As of November 2018, approximately two-thirds of the population is within the 15-44 age group and has a great interest in online shopping.  Before Covid-19, it was estimated that only about 14% of the population actually made online purchases; however, this has increased significantly since the onset of Covid-19, but no reliable statistics are available at this date.  In Qatar, 87% of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) accept credit cards, which are widely used in Qatar.

The country’s Electronic Commerce and Transactions Law was enacted in 2010, providing legislation in areas such as e-signatures, e-documents, and authentication. Qatar Central Bank is primarily responsible for regulating electronic banking activities and electronic financial transactions.  The Government of Qatar is encouraging greater use of modern technology in government transactions and service delivery.  Since 2014, Qatar continues to implement its e-Government 2020 strategy, which aims to enhance people’s everyday lives through technology.  This includes providing e-Government services to individuals and businesses, as well as delivering administrative efficiency and increasing government openness.  Several government services and transactions are now possible through the Internet and the goal of putting 100% of key government services online is targeted to be completed by the end of 2020.  The private sector, however, has taken slow steps in developing its B2B and B2C portals. E-commerce is expected to flourish given the government’s interest in enhancing this service throughout Qatar, as well as the necessity for alternatives to in-person shopping that Covid-19 presents.