UAE consumers are the most mobile-centric, PYMNTS and Visa Cybersource survey reveals

Seventy-two per cent of UAE in-store shoppers would use their smartphones to enhance their shopping experience, according to  ‘The 2022 Global Shopping Index: UAE Edition’ survey by PYMNTS and Visa Cybersource.

The purpose of this study, conducted across Australia, Brazil, Mexico, the UAE, the UK and the US, was to find out what differentiates the UAE e-commerce scene from other markets.

The survey also revealed how shopping preferences in the UAE differ from those in other countries, such as which shopping and payment features local shoppers seek out, as well as how well local merchants cope with their customers’ demands.

Key insights from the survey:

Smartphones are essential to both in-store and online shopping experience in the UAE. Sixty-five per cent of UAE consumers admitted using smartphones at some point throughout their most recent shopping journey, independent of whether they were shopping in-store or remotely. 

This makes them 52 per cent more likely to use their smartphone at any time for any reason than the average consumer across all six participant countries in the report. About 60 per cent of consumers have used their smartphones for in-store shopping, while 32 per cent entirely relied on their smartphones to complete their last purchase.

Secondly, UAE consumers reported using in-store and curbside pick-up options more frequently than their counterparts. Almost one-third of all local e-commerce shoppers collected their most recent purchases in-person from stores or via curbside pickup, which is more frequent than shoppers in other countries.

As a result, UAE merchants are seeking diverse ways to deliver mobile-friendly retail experiences.  UAE merchants are significantly more likely than their counterparts to offer mobile-based features to their brick-and-mortar shoppers. Seventy per cent of retailers provide cross-channel digital profiles, allowing consumers to access their ID and payment infor­mation both in-store and online. In short, UAE merchants are 10 per cent more likely than the average retailers from all six countries to provide digital profiles.

However, while UAE merchants provide the cross-channel shopping features that shoppers prioritise, their quality remain inferior to consumers’ expectations. As a consequence, UAE consumers who order items via their smartphones to collect them in-store face 35 per cent more shopping friction than their counterparts across all six countries, indicating that the quality of the mobile features they are using may be subpar compared with those seen abroad. All the same, the shoppers who use these features while shopping in-store encounter 10 per cent less shopping friction than those that do not use the features in-store.

“UAE shoppers’ strong pref­erence for mobile commerce touches every aspect of their shopping journeys, including their in-store shopping expe­riences. Meeting these mobile-centric shoppers’ needs is crucial to the success and growth of businesses in a market that is steadily progressing in its cashless journey,” said Visa’s SVP and Group Country Manager for the GCC region, Saeeda Jaffar. 

“With the growing interest in online and mobile shopping in the country, responsible digital retailers are looking to improve their systems to provide their customers with a seamless and secure shopping experience online and in-store shopping experiences for customers. These statistics allow retailers to identify challenges and adapt to consumers’ mobile preferences to make their retail journey safe and frictionless.”