Under the title “E-commerce replaces traditional shopping”, I wrote last September about this growing trend in the Egyptian market.
I reviewed the traditional relation between consumer, vendor, and commodity; a relation that had always been a direct face-to-face one. Today however, thanks to modern technology, these three elements interconnect over the Internet and social networks where consumers surf the markets, scrutinise and compare alternative commodities and, once settled on their hearts’ desire, proceed to online payment without leaving the comfort of their couches. The commodities are then delivered to their doorsteps.
It is self evident that electronic shopping is steadily changing the trade scene, and might very well phase out traditional shopping with its attractive glittery stores, showrooms, and malls. The move towards e-shopping replaces these with huge warehouses where the inflow and outflow of goods is automated and mechanised. I broached this issue soon after Amazon’s entry into the Egyptian market with a EGP1 billion investment, promising a huge leap in the e-market field. Amazon announced it is providing more than 3000 job opportunities in 15 distribution stations across Egypt.
Yet this huge leap in e-commerce and the jobs involved in no way matches the urgent need to create more than 750,000 job opportunities every year to accommodate young Egyptians entering the work force. A new field related to e-commerce has the capacity to employ hundreds of thousands of young people; I am talking about the delivery industry which carries goods bought online from the seller’s stores to buyer’s destination. If these goods are lightweight and need to be delivered to destinations within reasonably close distances, they are usually dispatched on motorbikes. In case of foodstuffs, these motorbikes are fitted with cold boxes or whatever is needed to ensure they reach the client in best condition. Driving the motorbikes are young people who navigate the streets swiftly and smoothly—sometimes chaotically—to deliver goods round the clock.
The delivery industry is taking the market by storm; it now covers many daily needs of basic goods such as foods, groceries, detergents, toiletries, cosmetics, garment and fashion, electronic accessories and utilities; heavier stuff such as furniture and household items are moved by trucks. Delivery of goods promises lucrative opportunities for young people; a recent trend has been companies that advertise their willingness to do the shopping customers need, no matter how varied these needs may be, and deliver the goods to the clients.
In this context, I aspire to see some study or research on the delivery industry in our country. This should include the number of individuals conducting the delivery service, those in charge of the business, the rate of growth of the industry, and any information that would indicate its magnitude and the added value it contributes to the work market.
The delivery industry is living proof of the veracity of the market law of supply and demand; the demand here being the buyer’s need for goods and the seller’s need to hand them over, and the supply being provided by the able youth who deliver the goods from seller to buyer.
In fact, home delivery has become such an established fact on the ground, that a recent anecdote on social media made me laugh out loud. A young man answers his doorbell to find a huge man in uniform of a delivery company, who then proceeds to wield him a few hard slaps. While yet reeling from the shock, the recipient is asked to sign a delivery receipt for the order [the slaps] sent by his fiancée! I mean no offence … just wished to convey how limitless the delivery industry has grown, and how swiftly it is altering our daily lives.
22 October 2021