E-commerce adoption by small and medium enterprises
: a multiple perspective investigation in Saudi Arabia

  • Maher Saeed Alhindi

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    In recent years, electronic commerce has become one of the most popular ways to shop worldwide. The rising popularity of this phenomenon has provided enormous benefits for both business and consumers, such as quick distribution, saving time and money, easy-to-compare prices, and options with respect to goods. Moreover, to achieve the best outcomes from using such technology, governments and commercial organisations have devoted their attention to investigating every aspect that might affect the adoption and development of electronic commerce.
    Saudi Arabia is one of those countries which seek to benefit from electronic commerce’s advantages. Saudi Arabia is economically developed but not entirely so, as it is in the process of developing further and adopting more innovation. In this regard, this research assesses the extent to which e-commerce platforms are used in Saudi Arabia. Assessments are based on rising popularity and the benefits to business and customers alike in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
    This study aims to explore the concept of e-commerce in medium-sized and small enterprises to assess multiple perspectives in the domains of Saudi Arabia. It cannot be assumed that with the rapid technological growth across the globe, modes of life have been comprehensively transformed, and everything has been transformed into online means. Likewise, the limitations of e-commerce cannot be discarded at any cost because of the ease of functionality of all the tasks. It is easy now to sell or purchase any product or service through online electronic platforms.
    This research investigates the adoption of e-commerce by small and medium enterprises that are using a business-to-consumer model in Saudi Arabia. The aim is to investigate the status of electronic commerce in Saudi Arabia and to identify the factors influencing its level of adoption. Also, the study covers the potential groups involved in this, i.e. small and medium-sized enterprises, Saudi consumers, relevant governmental departments, and supporting industries. From the relevant literature, theoretical research models and the exploratory study undertaken, a set of eleven potential factors impacting e-commerce adoption is suggested.
    In the last chapter of this research, observations related to the interpretation of results are given, as well as validation of the hypotheses based on model construction and descriptive analysis of demographic profiles as well. As per the research done, all eleven hypotheses were statistically supported. The establishment of significant and positive impacts of e-commerce adoption include those on human resources, business resources, SME awareness, technological resources, SMEs commitment, governance, e-readiness on the part of the government and supporting industries, social factors, and consumer awareness of e-commerce.
    Moreover, the originality of the research lies in the country of origin, the corporate sector of SMEs under consideration, and the e-commerce aspects which are discussed as per the hypotheses. The evaluation was also included in the limitations of this research. This includes limitations like increased time consumption, compromised decisions in certain cases, subjective and biased decisions, limited analysis of the subject, conducting the report in an uncontrollable environment, and uncertain responsibilities.
    The research outlines various factors that could affect overall e-commerce adoption. It will help SMEs as well as researchers to further develop their research from these findings by suggesting effective methods for lowering the resistance to e-commerce adoption in SMEs as well as in a large corporation. These considerations will have to be addressed by the economic, political, and social scenarios of Saudi Arabia while doing research in this field.
    Proper model construction and research hypotheses have been designed, and multiple research methods have been adopted to collect the required data from the four different groups. Discriminant analysis has been applied to the quantitative data consisting of 525 survey responses from Saudi citizens and 488 from Saudi small and medium-sized enterprises. A qualitative analysis of 17 interviews conducted with relevant government departments and supporting industries has been undertaken. This study provided a validated checklist of factors dynamically affecting e-commerce adoption to researchers and policymakers.
    On the basis of outcomes related to which factors are most relevant, the impacts on business growth and customer attitude are assessed. Moreover, the least significant factors are also analysed. Analysis of SPSS data interpretation offers clear explications for the analysis of both primary and discriminant factors. Assessments of the group probabilities for classifying the results have been obtained based on SPSS data interpretation.
    Date of AwardJan 2019
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Portsmouth
    SupervisorAlessio Ishizaka (Supervisor), Mark Xu (Supervisor) & Martin John Read (Supervisor)

    Cite this