Alternative shopping options will rebuild consumer confidence in Saudi Arabia

July 5, 2021 | By Jibran Chouguley

Alternative shopping options like ‘Click & Collect’, curbside pickup (46%), and contactless in-store experiences like self-checkouts (27%) will help rebuild Saudi consumers’ confidence to visit public places, according to a study commissioned by Kearney. 

“For Saudi consumers, convenience is driving online purchases with COVID-19 concerns becoming a secondary factor, indicating the sustenance of the online shift. However, the physical store still plays a strong role across all categories which require the customer to touch, feel and try the product. Retailers will need to adopt a differentiated strategy to make consumers feel safe in stores; consumers are heavily indexed towards alternative shopping options like Click & Collect, curb-side pickup and contactless in-store experience like self-checkouts,” said Adel Belcaid, Partner at Kearney Middle East


The survey suggests that consumers are looking for more omnichannel journeys and innovative in-store models from retailers with alternative shopping options and continued protective measures. Contactless in-Store experiences like self-checkouts are the key drivers of restoring consumer confidence in visiting public places and increased vaccination drives (15%) and social distancing (12%) further help customers feel more comfortable stepping outdoors.


As spending habits evolve, e-commerce continues to penetrate all categories. Consumers in KSA are now more comfortable purchasing essentials online when compared to last year. When the survey demographic was questioned about this, they said, 39% said COVID-19 prevention measures were the main driver, followed by convenience (36%), price (17%), and finally, assortments of products (8%).


Furthermore, convenience ranked first for online shopping for non-essential items at 34%, followed by price and assortment of products and Covid-19 prevention measures at 24% and 18%, respectively.


As spending habits are ever-changing, consumers in KSA are still taking a cautious approach, with 57% believing the impact of the pandemic to last for the next six months. The survey further highlights that expenditure on essential items has sustained an increase of 45% of consumers moving towards higher-priced, better quality products. In contrast, spending on non-essential items continues to decline.


More than 80% of consumers have admittedly changed their shopping habits to adapt to the “new normal”. Those aged between 30-45 recorded the most significant change at 89%, followed by those from ages 46-60 and under 30 years of age at 84%. 


“The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way consumers view health and safety measures and efforts. As residents adopt to the new normal, hygiene and hygiene transparency have become vital. Spending is being driven by the easing of restrictions, higher awareness of health and wellbeing, and expectations to return to the office,” added Belcaid.




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