During the holiday season, post and delivery services are extremely busy.
Between the 9.4 million Emirati, communication is predominantly in Arabic. In addition, most residents can speak English. Other spoken languages are Persian, Hindi and Urdu. While consumers have been slow to adopt online shopping, e-commerce has known a strong growth in the last years. In 2017, Emiratis spent 791$ US per capita online and, in contrast, 25,697$ US per capita at point of sale locations.
The most popular credit card is visas with over 61% market share. Often used payment methods are also CashU, OneCard and the e-wallet giant PayPal. Mobile wallets were used to settle 18% of e-commerce and 6% of POS transactions in 2017. Other used payment providers are Innovate Payments, Gate2Play, Network International, Payfort, Prosum, Skrill, 2Checkout.
The country is renowned to have one of the highest concentration of shop per capita. In Dubai and Abu Dhabi alone, there is 4.7 million square meters of shopping centers. The United Arab Emirates are also known for the strong popularity of luxury shopping. According to Network International, 34% of UAE residents make online purchases one to five times a week. At POS, cash still reigns as the preferred payment method, being used for 70% of transactions. Emirati still prefer to benefit from luxurious air conditioned shopping centers, hampering the success of e-commerce. In a market where people are apprehensive to buy online, the attention to customers is crucial. Free delivery and seamless returns are important standards.
More than half of Emirati buyers (60%) online purchases are made from foreign shops. 35% of these are the USA, 30% Asia, 25% Europe and 10% of purchases. Within the MENA region. The preferred products are travel and transport goods, followed by clothing, shoes and accessories.
As Internet penetration increase in the region, e-commerce is expected to gain in popularity at a compounded annual growth rate of 10% until 2022. Growth is also projected to come from retail shops setting up online storefronts. Luxury retailers such as Burberry, Dolce&Gabbana or Blue Nile have already positioned themselves to make the most out of this emerging growth channel by launching Arabic-languages sites.
Credit cards 26%
Pay on delivery 19%
Bank transfer 14%
Debit card 10%
9 Bil. USD
Population: 9.4 Mil.
Internet Usage: 96%
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