UAE Merchants Adapt Shopping Experiences to Consumer Mobile Preferences

Cybersource - 2022 Global Digital Shopping Index: UAE Edition - September 2022 - Discover why shopping friction persists in UAE despite digital features' availability

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is home to a young, vibrant and mobile-first eCommerce market. Local shoppers use their smartphones throughout nearly every part of their shopping journeys, in greater numbers than seen in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, the United Kingdom or the United States. In total, nearly 70% of all local shoppers used their phones in some capacity during their most recent retail journeys, whether it was to check product reviews, pay via mobile wallet, track eCommerce orders or use navigation apps to locate products in-store.

UAE consumers’ strong penchant for mobile-enabled shopping experiences is just one of many traits that make the country’s eCommerce market unique on the world stage.

“The 2022 Global Shopping Index: UAE Edition,” a PYMNTS and Cybersource collaboration, delves into the details of what separates the UAE eCommerce market from other major world economies — and what those differences mean for the businesses looking to make their mark. We surveyed 13,114 consumers and 3,100 merchants across six countries to learn how UAE shopping preferences differ from those in other countries, which shopping and payment features local shoppers want most, and how well local merchants are meeting their customers’ demands.

Key findings from our research include the following:

  • Smartphones are integral to both the in-store and remote shopping experience in the UAE. Sixty-five percent of UAE consumers used smartphones at some point throughout their most recent retail journeys, regardless of whether they were shopping in-store or remotely online.
  • UAE shoppers use in-store and curbside pickup options more frequently than those in other countries. Nearly one-third of all local eCommerce shoppers picked up their most recent purchases in-store or via curbside pickup.
  • UAE merchants provide the cross-channel shopping features consumers want but not of the quality they demand, exacerbating shopping frictions. UAE consumers who order items on their smartphones and pick them up in-store encounter 35% more shopping friction than the average across all six countries, indicating that the quality of the mobile features they are using may not be on par with those seen elsewhere.

These are only a few of the key findings uncovered during our research of the UAE eCommerce market. “The 2022 Global Digital Shopping Index: UAE Edition” provides a firsthand account of what makes this market unique on the world stage and how merchants can tailor their feature offerings to suit local shopping preferences.

To learn more about which mobile- and digital-first shopping features merchants must provide to gain traction in the UAE market, download the report.