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Research shows 89 per cent of UAE customers are converts to e-commerce

Sitecore, a digital experience management software, announced that 89 per cent of customers in the UAE, and 91 per cent of customers in the Middle East and North Africa, have become digital converts since the pandemic and want to keep buying everything online.

The research, conducted by YouGov MENA, surveyed more than 650 IT decision-makers across 12 countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Levant, and Egypt.

Boosted by the stay-at-home economy of Covid-19, the Middle East’s e-commerce market reached USD 12.1bn in 2020, representing 53.8 per cent year-over-year growth, according to a recent report by MarketLine. Electronics and retail accounted for USD 5.2bn or 42.5 per cent of the total market.[1]

As e-commerce continues to grow, customers are placing greater emphasis on the customer experience. Since the pandemic, 90 per cent of UAE IT decision-makers said their customers will navigate away from a site and choose an alternative if they can’t find what they need in just a few clicks. Furthermore, 87 per cent of UAE respondents agreed that their customers have less patience with slow or poorly functioning websites.

“With 89 per cent of UAE customers and 91 per cent of MENA customers being digital converts to e-commerce, the region is seeing a rapid transition from bricks and mortar stores to hybrid and e-commerce models,” said Mohammed Alkhotani, area vice president – Middle East and Africa, Sitecore. “Millennials and Generation Z customers have quickly shifted their significant spending power online. Pressure will continue to mount on retailers until they can deliver an experience that delights.”

Brands in the UAE are taking a variety of actions to improve the shopping experience. The majority, 60 per cent, ranked an online app or website that works well on mobile devices as among their top three choices.

Also scoring highly in the top three choices were brands remembering customers’ shopping history and preferences (33 per cent), giving preferential treatment in the form of exclusive offers and invitations (42 per cent), and knowing the name during login or customer service (35 per cent).

“Brand loyalty has evaporated and there is no margin for error from browsing through to delivery,” added Mohammed Alkhotani. “Brands in the UAE are already ahead of the curve in prioritizing mobile apps and websites to personalize online experiences.”

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