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Why are more UAE consumers shopping from their phones?

Consumers in the country look for preferred payment methods, rewards, and free shipping.

Why are more UAE consumers shopping from their phones?
[Source photo: Pankaj Kirdatt/Fast Company Middle East]

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With digital-savvy consumers and distinct digital features, UAE consumers have topped the global digital shopping index, with 94% using at least one digital feature in their most recent shopping journey.

Conducted by PYMNTS and Visa Cybersource, The 2023 Global Shopping Index: UAE edition examined digital adoption in the UAE and the preferences of consumers. It involved 13,349 consumers and 3,124 merchants across Brazil, India, Mexico, UAE, the UK, and the US.

Among all countries surveyed, the UAE has the highest Global Digital Shopping Index (GDSI), with local merchants scoring 11% higher in 2022 than they did in 2021.

According to the study, UAE consumers preferred online shopping because of free shipping (50%), better prices (44%), and an easy checkout process (43%).

The ability to find products quickly and obtain products immediately are significant factors for UAE shoppers, compared to other countries. Only 40% of those who prefer physical stores in the UAE note immediate availability as essential, which is lower than the 54% and 53% averages in the US and UK.

Notably, nearly twice as many UAE shoppers value preferred payment methods (11.4%), followed by rewards (6.9%) and free shipping (6.6%).

Mobile shopping is highly common in the UAE, with 28% of consumers making their most recent retail purchases on their smartphones – the highest in any country, second only to India.

Amongst demographics, 33% of women buy products exclusively from their phones, compared to 27% of men. However, at 55% compared to 45% of women, men use their phones to improve their in-store shopping experience.

The study suggested that merchants consider the significance of digital shopping features and offer consumers seamless shopping experiences.

Consumers also seem more interested in cost-saving features – with 51% of local consumers receiving coupons, promo codes, and rewards in 2022 than the previous year.

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