CEMEA’s Growth Opportunity

The CEMEA region has witnessed accelerated economic growth despite grappling with macroeconomic challenges such as inflation, currency pressures, and debt.

By Andrew Torre, Regional President, CEMEA, Visa

One key highlight has been the transition to digital payments, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, which triggered a shift in consumer behavior and propelled ecommerce growth to outpace face-to-face (F2F) transactions.

The convenience and benefits of ecommerce have ingrained these behaviors as part of the 'new normal', with consumer spending strengthening across multiple sectors, indicating a consistent growth pace.

CEMEA’s Digital Disruption and the Opportunity Ahead

The confluence of demographic shifts, technological advancements, government policies, and changing consumer behaviors are driving digital disruption in the CEMEA region. The digital trend is accelerating, with Visa witnessing a steady rise in payment volumes, particularly contactless payments, which constituted 82% of all CEMEA transactions in 2022.

Georgia ranks first in contactless payments penetration globally, with almost 100% of transactions being tapped. Additionally, Visa Token Service issued its four billionth token, nearly doubling Visa’s token count in one year and surpassing the number of physical Visa cards in circulation worldwide.

CEMEA’s young tech-savvy population, high smartphone adoption, and government initiatives favoring digital transformation – all present a promising future for the region. However, despite the progress over 500 million people in the CEMEA region remain unbanked – underlining a significant opportunity for digital banking solutions, mobile wallets, and fintech platforms to provide essential financial services. This involves reaching an expanded audience, including those set to become banked customers in the next few years – and this group is almost entirely made up of Gen Z.

CEMEA’s Generation Z – Who are They and How Do We Reach Them?

The CEMEA region is home to almost 30% of the global Gen Z population, a demographic that is digital-first and ready to spend. This audience is diverse, with different values and behaviors from other generations and regions. Gen Z is entrepreneurialfinancially focusedculturally proud, and heavy content consumers. They are also avid gamerswith 70% of those under 25 preferring gaming over watching videos.

Businesses aiming to connect with Gen Z need to offer streamlined, personalized experiences that align with their values and leverage the digital space. They expect hyper-personalized experiences and meaningful two-way interactions.

At Visa, we are already diving in. With our 'Get Paid' initiative in the UAE and KSA, we are helping content creators turn their passions into profitable careers.

Gen Z’s Payment Preferences

Gen Z prioritizes convenience and control over security and rewards. They value financial adaptability, tools that boost their financial understanding, and platforms that offer personalization. They also appreciate ecommerce platforms that integrate social elements and value authenticity and transparency in the brands they choose. Catering to these needs and values is essential for businesses to engage this unique and influential generation.


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Tag: CEMEA Tag: Financial Inclusion Tag: Digital commerce Tag: Payment trends