Are MENA consumers happy shopping online?

January 31, 2024 | By RetailME Bureau

Tabby ME shopping survey findings

A Tabby survey indicates that 82% of shoppers find online shopping frustrating. Yet, 78% of retail customers have waited to buy items online after seeing them in-store. While 45% of shoppers have discovered retail purchases through social media, and 60% abandon purchases due to payment issues.

One of MENA’s leading shopping and financial services app Tabby has conducted a survey among over 7,500 shoppers across the UAE and Saudi Arabia to understand their retail habits and experiences. Commenting on the survey, Hosam Arab, CEO and Co-Founder of Tabby said, “In today’s competitive e-commerce landscape, information is key. We have launched our Middle East shopping survey to help retailers gain deeper insights into the needs and preferences of shoppers across the region. With such data-driven insights, we can create an e-commerce ecosystem that has a shared goal of giving shoppers the best shopping experience possible.”

Let’s deep dive into some insights from the survey.

Buying experience is almost as important as the product 

The survey found that 30% of shoppers are exclusively loyal to brands that offer them a good shopping experience. It also revealed that customer loyalty schemes fail to achieve repeat sales with only 7.7% of consumers saying that such schemes are one of the reasons they return to shop at the same brand again.

While 82% of shoppers found at least one frustration in the online shopping process, including website navigation, auto-payment options and long checkout processes. Additionally, young shoppers between 18 and 29 years are twice as likely to get frustrated over slow e-commerce websites. For those hoping to attract Gen-Z shoppers, a good shopping experience is non-negotiable.

It’s also worth noting that female shoppers prioritise affordability over quality more than male shoppers.

Free shipping is key for Saudi shoppers

The research also indicated that 29% of Saudi shoppers are frustrated when retailers do not provide them with free shipping, compared to the UAE whose shoppers scored 23%, indicating that free shipping is a key driver for shoppers in the region.

In-store and online, not in-store versus online

Based on the survey results, 78% of retail customers have opted to buy items online after seeing them in-store to compare prices between different sites. They also prefer shopping online but appreciate expert in-person advice and will still overall opt for a mix of shopping experiences. Online and in-store shopping experiences complement one another as the data reveals that while 45% of buyers have purchased items through social media, 72% of shoppers find retail inspiration online and will likely know exactly what they want to buy in-store, before going in-person shopping.

Shoppers are suspicious, so create stores that feel credible

According to the data gathered, 60% of buyers have abandoned a purchase due to payment issues, with young shoppers more cautious about sharing their payment details. Thus, retailers are responsible for showing potential customers that their website is safe.

The survey also includes expert opinions from retailers such as SQUATWOLF, LEVEL Shoes, Bloomingdale’s and FACES.

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