Uzbekistan flag Uzbekistan: Buying and Selling

E-commerce in Uzbekistan


Internet access
By the end of 2017, Uzbekistan had a population of 32.64 million people, out of which 15.45 million were Internet users, placing the penetration rate at 47.7% (Uzbekistan National News Agency). 51% of users access the Internet through their smartphones, 47% go online using computers (both desktops and laptops), and 2% use their tablets. Growing mobile penetration has been playing a critical role in improving Internet access. However, service is still expensive, and broadband speeds are low, which curbs internet use. With the goal of increasing Internet access, Uzbektelekom plans on introducing modern fibre optic technologies, which will reach distant regions in the country, including over 2 thousand kilometres of fibre that was installed in 2017. In 2017, there were 21.38 million (70% of the population) mobile connections in Uzbekistan, out of which 42% were either 3G or 4G. Uzbeks prefer pre-paid connections, which represent 97% of all mobile connections, while only 3% of them were post-paid. According to Freedom House, Uzbekistan has one of the most tightly controlled online environments in the world. However, the government has been taking an interest on e-commerce, particularly with a "social web solution" that seeks to expand the scale of e-commerce and make it more convenient for social services to be provided online (Uz Daily). As of July 2018, the most popular browsers in the country by market share were Chrome (53.69%), followed by UC Browser (19.99%), Opera (5.62%), Samsung Internet (4.61%), Firefox (4.52%), and Safari (3.88%). As for search engines, Google was the most popular one in Uzbekistan, with a market share of  71.87%, followed by Yandex RU (24.02%) and (2.64%).
E-commerce market
E-commerce is still underdeveloped in Uzbekistan, and it is only now starting to become a priority. In May 2018, the Uzbek President signed a decree "On measures for the accelerated development of e-commerce", and approved the "Program for the Development of E-commerce in Uzbekistan for 2018-2021". As a result, the market is expected to grow significantly in the next few years. Nevertheless, given that e-commerce is still rather uncharted in Uzbekistan, there aren't any official numbers on the market value or revenue. The main barriers to development of e-commerce in the country are insufficient electronic banking services, conversion limitations and underdeveloped trade and customs regulations. The capital, Tashkent, is currently the only viable e-commerce market in the country, as it's home to 90% of Uzbek internet users. On the other hand, the increasing number of mobile internet access contributes to the potential for e-commerce growth, and moderate to strong growth is expected in mobile broadband use over the next five years. However, at the moment mobile e-commerce is not widespread in Uzbekistan and is still developing. According to Euromonitor International, the increasing use of Internet services and the competition among internet providers is driving down prices. Arbauz led online sales in 2016 with 11% value share, broad product variety, and strong promotional campaigns. Other popular e-commerce websites include OLX, AliExpress, and Amazon. The most popular products purchased online are health and beauty products, electronics, clothing and shoes. As for cross-border e-commerce, Chinese and Turkish products are the most popular ones among Uzbeks. Online payment is done through the use of bank cards linked to smartphones, although the majority of transactions are still done by cash.

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Latest Update: May 2024

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