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Buy online and pick up later? Or will it be buy now and pay later? Consumer spending ways are changing in the UAE, but two things stand out - they are heading for online more and making those payments using digital ways. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Yes, online shopping is becoming a habit for UAE and Middle East shoppers. COVID-19 certainly made sure of that.

Currently, 83 per cent of consumers reckon they will engage in online shopping more frequently in 2022. That’s against the 47 per cent who said they will do so last year. Clearly, much has changed in these 12 months and more, and retailers will not have let these trends go unnoticed.

Shop online and pick up at store is becoming standard practice. So much so, even car dealerships in the UAE are offering this facility, with all the payment-related part completed before the car owner steps into the showroom.

Online buying is most frequent in the grocery or daily needs space as well as food delivery. Nearly half of those surveyed in the report said they shop online at least once a month. And 53 per cent said that they are doing more of their shopping online now compared with before the pandemic started. During Ramadan, there are clear online shopping spikes, with 76 per cent of consumers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia saying they anticipated purchasing products and services online more frequently during the Holy Month.

“A flourishing digital payments and ecommerce ecosystem is leading consumers to feel more empowered, with start-ups thriving in the fintech arena and markets opening up,” said Mo Ali Yusuf, Regional Manager at

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Pay digitally too

Online vendors are reporting less usage of cash-on-delivery among their shoppers, and this trend too is reflected in the findings. As high as 60 per cent of consumers now prefer to pay for their ecommerce deals via a digital payment– a 20 per cent gain on last year.

“This is also giving way to newer methods of paying, including digital wallets, in-app social shopping, and ‘Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) options,” says the report. The region is now growing at a faster clip on digital payments that Europe or Asia-Pacific markets.

“Today, three in four consumers in the region report using some form of fintech app in the past year, with 81 per cent feeling they directly benefit from the growing fintech sector,” the report adds.

“This presents a phenomenal opportunity for global and domestic merchants to expand their businesses across MENA,” said Yousuf.