Shoppers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have a strong inclination toward digital features in their shopping journeys.
Ninety-four percent of consumers in the Middle Eastern country used at least one digital shopping feature offered by merchants during their most recent retail experience, surpassing all other countries except India.
These are some of the key insights detailed in the UAE Edition of the 2023 Global Digital Shopping Index, a PYMNTS Intelligence and Cybersource collaboration. The report drew insights from a survey of over 13,000 consumers and 3,000 merchants across six countries to examine the features that UAE shoppers value the most in their digital shopping experiences.
According to the survey findings, UAE consumers prioritize two factors — lower prices and free shipping — when shopping online. The study found that 44% of UAE eCommerce shoppers cited better prices as a reason for choosing online shopping, while 50% highlighted the importance of free shipping. Additionally, 43% of UAE eCommerce shoppers emphasized the ease of the checkout process as a factor in their decision to shop online.
Contrasting their online preferences, Emirati consumers value the immediacy of acquiring products and the ease of finding them when shopping in physical stores. However, the study revealed that immediate product availability holds less importance for UAE shoppers compared to consumers in other countries.
When it comes to the most desired digital shopping features, payment options, rewards and free shipping emerged as the top three features that UAE consumers desire from merchants. Among UAE shoppers, 11% consider the ability to use their preferred payment methods as the most crucial feature, while 6.9% prioritize rewards and 6.6% value free shipping the most.
Additionally, mobile shopping has gained popularity in the UAE, with 28% of local consumers making their most recent retail purchase using their smartphones. Both men and women actively engage in mobile shopping, with 33% of women and 27% of men having completed their latest retail purchase entirely on their smartphones. Moreover, UAE consumers also use their smartphones to enhance their in-store shopping experiences, with 52% using their mobile devices for this purpose.
Recognizing the significance of digital shopping features, Emirati merchants have made efforts to provide consumers with seamless shopping experiences. The country secured the highest average Global Digital Shopping Index (GDSI) score among eCommerce merchants surveyed, indicating a smooth shopping and payment journey.
The GDSI score for UAE merchants improved from 112 in 2021 to 124.4 in 2022, highlighting the continuous enhancements in customer experiences over time. This increase, per the report, means that “their shoppers were 11% more satisfied in 2022 than they were just one year earlier.”
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