39% of UAE residents go online for purchases each week

"39% of UAE residents go online for purchases each week"

Bhairav Trivedi, CEO – Network International

More than a third (34%) of United Arab Emirates (UAE) residents said they make online purchases between one and five times a week with 5% making purchases online more than five times a week, according to a survey of purchasing behavior by Network International, the leading payment solutions provider in the Middle East.

The most frequent use of online payments was for remittances to home countries (15%), followed by payment of utilities (14%) and high value items such as property or cars (12%). One in ten (10%) respondents said they use online facility to pay for children’s school fees.

Whilst most residents prefer to use cash or cards to shop in-store for items such as groceries, clothes and household goods, 15% of respondents said they went online to purchase electronic items such as TVs or smart phones. One in ten (10%) UAE residents said they purchased ‘fast food’ or ‘takeaways’ on the move using a mobile device.

The ability to pay with a single click (50%), robust security measures (46%) and the advantage of purchasing on the move (39%) were the top three reasons cited for making online purchases.

The findings of the Network International survey reveal that Asian expatriates are the most regular users of online payments platform with 35% using the facility between one and five times a week, followed by Emiratis (32%), Arab expats (31%) and Western expats (30%).

Commenting on the study findings, Bhairav Trivedi, Chief Executive Officer of Network International, said: “The adoption of online shopping among UAE residents is a step in the right direction. As the study reveals, customers are increasingly seeking convenient and secure forms of payment alternatives. This is especially relevant in the UAE as the country is certainly way ahead of the rest of the region with its high mobile penetration, combined with its relentless drive to move towards being a smart economy.

“At Network International, we expect online and mobile payments to assume a very important role in the Smart City initiative envisioned by the UAE leadership.”

The study also found that adults in their 30’s are leading the online purchasing trend. People between the ages of 30-39 reported the most regular usage (36%) of online payments – between one and five times a week – followed by those aged above 40 at 33%. Younger residents in the age bracket of 18-29 were slightly lower with under a third (31%) of people making online purchases between one and five times a week.

The survey was conducted in Q2 2015, covering a sample size of 1020 UAE residents (both UAE citizens and expats) living in all seven Emirates of the UAE. Surveyed online by YouGov, the findings provide great insights into the spending behavior of UAE residents, especially with regards to the method of payments.