Pakistan flag Pakistan: Buying and Selling

E-commerce in Pakistan


Internet access
In 2018, Pakistan had a population of 200.81 million people, out of which 44.61 million were Internet users, making the penetration rate 22.2%, according to Internet World Stats. Internet penetration is still very limited in Pakistan due to a lack of resources and infrastructure. Low literacy level, economic conditions and cultural resistance are also factors behind low penetration rates. Nevertheless, in recent years the cost of internet subscriptions has been falling considerably, and mobile internet access has been increasing, resulting in overall higher penetration. By March 2017, Pakistan had more than 137 million mobile phone users, according to The Express Tribune. However, only 28% of them used 3G/4G connections in 2017, mainly because telecom operators focus on urban and high-revenue areas. Therefore, remote and rural areas in Pakistan still lack broadband, and a large number of Internet users depend on slow dial-up connections. Still, 3G and 4G networks are slowly reaching those areas, as the government plans on increasing connectivity. According to the 2017 Annual Report released by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, there were 18 million smartphone users in the country in 2018. As of July 2018, the most popular browser in Pakistan by market share was Chrome (72.81%), followed by UC Browser (9.78%), Opera (5.17%), Android (3.91%), Safari (2.57%), and Firefox (2.27%). As for search engines, the most popular by far was Google (97.59%), followed by Yahoo (1.42%) and Bing (0.05%).
E-commerce market
Pakistan's e-commerce market size is expected to exceed US$ 1 billion by the end of 2018 due to new online payment merchants and broadband penetration (The Express Tribune). One of the key issues that has limited the development of the Pakistani e-commerce industry has been the lack of credible online payment options in the country. However, the entry of international players in the field is expected to resolve this longstanding growth barrier. According to Euromonitor International, the increasing number of young and urban consumers is driving the internet retailing boom in Pakistan. According to Statista, e-commerce sales amounted to US$ 622 million in 2017, representing 0.34% of the country's retail sales. However, the actual value of e-commerce sales is probably much higher, given that the central bank of Pakistan only took into account payments done through debit or credit cards, which represented a small portion of all transactions. Some leading e-commerce websites in Pakistan are,,,, and led online retail sales in 2016, with a 13% market share; an online Black Friday Sale that broke sales records in November 2015, aggressive marketing and exclusive distribution rights with international brands were among the key factors behind this growth. Alibaba has just recently entered the Pakistani market, and Amazon is also looking to invest in the country. According to the 2017 Annual Report released by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, e-commerce is one of the most important drivers of a digital Pakistan. Therefore, the government has been working on the development of an e-commerce policy framework to regulate and further develop the market in Pakistan. That same report stated that there were 5 million online shoppers in the country in 2017, 2000 e-retailers - out of which around 375 accepted digital payments, and as a result over 90% of transactions were paid by cash upon delivery. Smartphones are the preferred shopping medium among Pakistanis, instead of laptops and desktops. According to, 76 % of this traffic was from mobiles in 2017. Therefore, the biggest e-commerce players in the country are heavily investing on their apps and mobile friendly websites. Mobile & electronics has been the most popular product category among online shoppers for a few years, responsible for lion's share in sales. However, in 2017, 40% of sales were generated by customers who ordered beauty products, grocery and household items.

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Latest Update: May 2024

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