Kuwait: E-payment transactions see record growth due to coronavirus

Kuwait: E-payment transactions see record growth due to coronavirus

Kuwait: E-payment transactions see record growth due to coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic triggered e-payment in State of Kuwait, primarily during the lockdown, to skyrocket by 122 percent in July 2020 year-on-year with more than 11 million transactions compared to five million in same month 2019.

“The first six months since the outbreak of the pandemic witnessed a dramatic change, and what happened during the first half of 2020 is similar to the change of behavior of individuals and institutions in normal conditions in half a century,” The Shared Electronic Banking Company, KNET, said in a study about e-payment during the pandemic.

The study, jointly conducted with KPMG Audit and Assurance, and made available to KUNA, said economic activities ceased from March until partial reopening in June 2020, but total transactions surged in July 2020 to 616 million Kuwaiti Dinars (KD) (around USD two billion), compared with the same month in 2019.

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It said categories that witnessed high demands in the January-August 2020 period were grocery and consumption materials, an increase by 6.6-fold. They were followed by health care by 3.6 fold.

The study showed that volume of remittance between March and May 2020 rose by 2.7-fold, finance, insurance and real estate by 2.3-fold, retail trade by 1.9 fold. Travel and transportation however declined by 0.7 fold.

The e-payment growth was not restricted to Kuwait. In a report released end of June, UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said digital economy in general and e-trade in specific played an important role in global sustainable economic development.

It said countries that developed their digital economies would have more competitive edge in terms of movement of goods and services.

UNCTAD noted that online exchange of goods and services was taking place through different platforms and service providers in all continents.

It said the coronavirus pandemic forced a shrink of global economy but triggered e-trade coupled with many institutions adopting online employment. The number of internet users was 29.3 percent of the world’s population in 2010 and skyrocketed to 53.6 percent in 2019.

UNCTAD said pre-pandemic projections showed that retail would growth by 4.4 percent in 2020 or USD 26.4 trillion, of them USD 4.1 trillion for e-trade.

However, the pandemic forced contraction of global retail by 10 percent and e-trade grew by 16 percent.