Online shopping gaining popularity in the UAE, indicates MasterCard

MasterCard today released the results of its ‘Online Shopping Behaviour’ study that indicates online shopping has increased gradually over the last two years, with local websites such as Souq.com, emerging as a popular choice by shoppers. According to the study, a whopping 83% of UAE residents had made a purchase online during the three months prior to the study being conducted and four out of five respondents said they were satisfied with the process. The top categories for online spending include airlines, travel and hotels, followed by shopping for home appliances and clothing.

“Online is quickly becoming the norm for more shoppers in the UAE due to the high level of awareness amongst consumers about the convenience, speed and safety of their transactions. They are adopting new technologies such as MasterPass, which allows consumers to store all their MasterCard or other branded payment card information, as well as shipping and billing address details securely in one place. This gives them the ability to make online payments quickly, with a single click, tap or touch of the MasterPass button at checkout,” explains Aaron Oliver, head of emerging payments – Middle East and Africa, MasterCard.

“From a merchant’s point of view, banks and other financial institutions in the UAE are driving the growth of the e-commerce industry by eradicating barriers to e-commerce and developing customised payment solutions that facilitate the acceptance of online payments for both large and small businesses.”

The survey results also highlighted an affinity for making purchases through smart handheld devices. Of the respondents polled, nearly one-third made online purchases through their mobile phones, which is higher than what was observed in the UAE for results collected in 2012 and 2013. Airline tickets and phone apps were found to be the two main categories of products purchased online via mobile phones, followed by clothing, accessories, hotel accommodations and cinema tickets.

Respondents pointed to convenience and wide availability of apps as key reasons for relying on their mobile phones, with fewer people mentioning a preference to shop in brick-and-mortar stores compared to the results of the 2014 study (results were collected in 2013).

The Online Shopping Behavior survey, which measures consumers’ propensity to shop online, was conducted at the end of last year and was based on interviews with 4,000 respondents across eight markets in the Middle East and North Africa including the UAE.

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