Stock Online shopping
When it comes to smartphones, UAE consumers know their way around using them for most of their retail fulfilment. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Shopping in the UAE is turning ever more smartphone-centric, with a third of UAE consumers having completed their purchase entirely through their handset. And 65 per cent of shoppers used smartphones at some point through their most recent retail transaction, according to a Visa survey.

Then again, 72 per cent of customers here who shop at brick-and-mortar stores are more likely than others to use smartphones to enhance their in-store shopping experience. To give omni-channel its due, nearly one-third of all local ecommerce shoppers picked their most recent purchases in-store or via curbside pickup.

“UAE shoppers’ strong pref¬erence for mobile commerce touches every aspect of their shopping journeys, including their in-store shopping expe¬riences,” said Dr. Saeeda Jaffar, Visa’s Senior VP and Group Country Manager for GCC. “Meeting these mobile-centric shoppers needs is crucial to the success and growth of businesses in a market that is steadily progressing in its cashless journey.

“With the growing interest in online and mobile shopping in the country, responsible digital retailers are looking to improve their systems to provide their customers with a seamless and secure shopping experience online and in-store shopping experiences for customers. These statistics allow retailers to identify challenges and adapt to consumers’ mobile preferences to make their retail journey safe and frictionless.”

The survey polled 13,114 consumers and 3,100 merchants in six countries – the US, UK, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and UAE - to find out how shopping preferences in the UAE differ from those in other countries.

Key Visa findings

Keep the smartphone close: 65 per cent of UAE consumers used smartphones at some point in their most recent retail journeys, which makes them ’52 per cent more likely to use their smartphone at any time for any reason than the average consumer in all six countries studied in the report.

UAE shoppers use in-store and curbside pickup options more frequently: Nearly one-third of all local eCommerce shoppers picked up their most recent purchases in-store or via curbside pickup- indicating that UAE shoppers use in-store and curbside pickup options more frequently than shoppers in other countries.

UAE merchants are trying to deliver mobile-enabled retail experience: UAE merchants are far more likely than their counterparts in other countries to provide mobile-based features for their brick-and-mortar shoppers. Seventy per cent of merchants offer cross-channel digital profiles, allowing consumers to access their identification and payment infor¬mation both in-store and online.

UAE merchants provide the cross-channel shopping features consumers want - but not the quality they demand: UAE consumers who order items on their smartphones and pick them up in-store encounter 35 per cent more shopping friction than the average across all six countries, indicating that the quality of the mobile features they are using may not be on par with those seen elsewhere.