Saudi Arabian consumers embrace cashless, online future


More than 75 per cent of shoppers in Saudi Arabia have increased their shopping online since the pandemic began, according to a post-Covid report released in the Middle East.

The Saudi Central Bank study analysed types of payments used in the kingdom in 2021.

The study aimed to to evaluate consumer payment habits of individuals, businesses and public sectors across all market sectors.

Cash is currently the preferred payment method in the kingdom, with card payments coming second after cash-on-delivery. Around 31 million cards are in circulation, of which a majority 88 per cent are debit cards and 12 per cent credit cards.

The Financial Sector Development Program, part of Saudi Vision 2030, aims to promote digital payment solutions to make the kingdom cashless by 2025.

Soliman Aldukhil, group vice president of Mena paytech business Tap Payments, told Zawya: “Modern consumers need quick and effective payment options, and a pandemic around the world demonstrated how everyone needs to move to digital payments and away from cash.

“Institutions and entrepreneurs must collaborate closely to ensure that consumers profit from cutting-edge solutions in a connected paytech world while always staying safe and secure.”

Sultan Alonazi, managing director at Tap Payments, said: “It is important to understand not just the present, but the future of behaviors and education for the next generation of Saudi consumers through platforms like the eCommerce University at Seamless KSA, which we are partnering on this year, and internship programs.”

Where about cryptocurrency?
According to a study by, 54 per cent of Saudi Arabian and UAE respondents believed cryptocurrency should be used as currency alongside its existing value as an investment asset, nine percentage points higher than the global average of 45 per cent.

However, there are still obstacles that stop digital currencies from going mainstream.

The study found that approximately 25 per cent of respondents in Saudi Arabia and just over 30 per cent in the UAE said “crypto is too complicated to become mainstream”.