Not needing cash to make those payments is becoming a habit for UAE shoppers. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: UAE’s retailers will have a tough task to win back shoppers who migrated online during the pandemic – 73 per cent of UAE shoppers now reckon they are more positive about online shopping. Not just that, 47 per cent prefer to keep making online payments for their needs rather than use cash.

That's against 72 per cent who said they preferred to shop in-person prior to the pandemic compared to less than a third who did so through online channels. Everyday shopping needs are the biggest beneficiaries of this go-online trend. And this will pave the way for the UAE to be a fully cashless society by 2030 – at least, that’s what 64 per cent of those polled in a Standard Chartered survey suggest.

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Sonny Zulu, Head of Retail Banking at Standard Chartered UAE: “The UAE is on a fast track in adopting digital banking and cashless payments… and the pandemic has accelerated the digital drive. We see consumers in the UAE, spending more on basics - such as groceries and healthcare - and digital devices than they did prior to the pandemic, and they expect this increase to continue in the future.”

Going frugal

Again, there will need to be lots more of convincing to be done before UAE residents go back to spending freely on their travel and vacation plans. About 68 per cent plan to spend less on these pursuits than they did before the pandemic, while 42 per cent have already spent less on “experiences”, and 64 per cent did so on their clothes.

“This trend is expected to continue in the UAE,” as 38 per cent anticipate spending less on travel/holidays, 22 per cent on experiences and 35 per cent on clothes in the future.

Extended reach out

The study polled 12,000 adults across 12 markets – including Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Kenya, China, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Taiwan, UAE, the UK and the US – is the second in a three-part series, looking at how COVID-19 has transformed consumers’ way of life. The first survey focussed on the pandemic’s impact on earnings.

A bit of freeing up
Consumer spending has started to improve after the weeks spent at home. Around 46 per cent of respondents in the UAE reported increased spending in July – but 89 per cent of people in the UAE say the pandemic has made them more careful with their expenditure.
And 77 per cent said that the economic impact of COVID-19 has made them more likely to track their spending, with 80 per cent are either using - or interested in using - budgeting tools. Or tools that block card-spend over specified limits.