Global payments technology company, Visa has found out through its ‘Back to Business’ study that UAE consumers and businesses have adopted new behaviours.
Optimism among small businesses
The study indicates that 94% of small business owners are beginning to feel optimistic about the future of business, amidst differing levels of consumers who are “supporting small businesses.” While optimistic, SMBs in the UAE feel that it will be about six months before their businesses are back to full operation.
SMBs in the UAE have shown an incredible willingness to evolve in the face of change. In fact, 94% of SMBs in the UAE, compared to 67% globally, have pivoted to keep their businesses on track since the outbreak. Over two in five (44%, compared to 20% globally) have allowed contactless payments for the first time since the start of COVID-19. Additionally, nearly three in five (59%, compared to 33% of global SMBs) reported their business has accepted less or stopped accepting cash during the pandemic.
However, despite their willingness to adapt to new trends, 92% of merchants in the UAE still have concerns about shifting their business online or increasing online presence (compared to 74% globally), highlighting the need for additional support to help SMBs transition to digital. These businesses are most concerned about data privacy and security (48%, compared to 32% globally), as well as keeping their employees safe and healthy (48%, compared to 27% globally).
Also read: Visa to support small businesses
Consumer are demanding contactless
According to the study, almost 90% or 9 out of 10 consumers in the UAE have changed how they pay for purchases due to COVID-19, including shopping online when possible (59%), using contactless payments (52%) and not using cash as much (40%).
Contactless payments have become a driving differentiator. Nearly all (90%, compared to 63% globally) UAE consumers would switch to buying from a store that installed contactless payment systems. Almost three in four (72%, compared to 48% globally) UAE consumers wouldn’t shop at a store that only offers payment methods that require contact with a cashier or other shared devices. Importantly, an overwhelming majority (89%) of UAE consumers, compared to two-thirds (67%) of consumers globally, are taking measures to keep their payment cards clean.
“Consumers are putting COVID-19 safety measures at the top of their shopping agenda and favouring businesses that do the same,” said Shahebaz Khan, Visa’s general manager for the UAE. “Historically, we have seen behaviour change at the point of sale as a gradual shift over time. But COVID-19 has created an immediate need for safer, more efficient shopping experiences both online and offline as consumers rapidly migrate to digital commerce. We want small businesses to know that Visa is here to help them navigate these new consumer needs and gain insights to make their businesses stronger both now and in the long run.”