Dubai: With the entry of several online retail stores catering to the local market, UAE residents are now slowly embracing the convenience of cyber shopping. The popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter is also raising the number of internet users and could translate into a higher number of online shoppers in the future.
According to Euromonitor International, Arab expatriates are more likely to shop online than their Emirati counterparts, driven by the need for convenience, as these people tend to be busy and have less time to visit the malls or shopping centres.
Besides, Sana Toukan, research manager, Middle East, at Euromonitor International, said a considerable portion of Arab expatriates in the UAE tend to be educated abroad and are thus familiar with the concept of online shopping, although some remain hesitant to use their plastic money online.
Generally, Emiratis are slowly opening up to the idea of online shopping, but Toukan said this remains low due to a number of factors including the high prevalence of malls which prompts many people to spend time there shopping, the low percentage of working local women who are in need of convenience, in addition to the inherent perception that online shopping is insecure.
"Although the number of websites is increasing, pushing with it online shopping, these still remain low compared to the numbers we see in Western Europe and the US. Western expatriates are already familiar with the concept of online shopping from their home countries and tend to be less cautious when it comes to using their cards online," she said.