Dubai: UAE shoppers do make it count when going online — they rack up the highest transaction levels of $332 per purchase according to a KPMG survey consumer habits in 51 countries.

This is so even though UAE consumers shop less frequently online than the global average, “suggesting further room for growth. And 58 per cent of products that shoppers bought online were from overseas vendors — something that local and regional operators will look to tilt in their favour at the earliest.

“While UAE consumers tend to take longer to make purchases, purchases using smartphones is quickly becoming a preferred option,” the report states. And they are more willing to share their buying preferences — at 45 per cent they best the global average of 31 per cent.

Online payment service providers will have some work to do given that cash-on-delivery remains one of the more popular modes of payment for UAE consumers, something they have in common with consumers in India and Russia.

Respondents said that protecting their data was most important (63 per cent). “While most companies are, of course, making a concerted effort to protect their customers’ personal information, frequent media reports on data breaches around the world continue to make consumers anxious and keep the issue top of mind,” it adds.

The top categories UAE shoppers picked up online were fashion accessories, electronics, phones, women’s apparel and perfumes.

“Today’s consumer no longer goes shopping ... but is shopping, all the time and everywhere,” said Anurag Bajpai, Partner at KPMG and the Head of Retail in the UAE and Oman. “Hence, creating an online shopping experience is becoming more vital — and more complex — every day.”

The sample consisted of consumers aged 15 to 70 years old who had made at least one online purchase in the past 12 months. They were within the top 65 per cent of income earners in their country.

The survey was conducted using an online questionnaire; a total of 18,430 qualified responses were received.

Online vendors need to get their customer interactions spot on ... this was the number one loyalty-earning attribute, cited by 65 per cent of respondents. The second-most successful loyalty build-up strategy was providing exclusive promotions and offers (cited by 45 per cent), followed by loyalty or membership programmes (37 per cent).

“Younger consumers tend to be more loyal to companies that offer personalised interactions such as customised promotions, anticipation of needs and other interactive experiences, as well as concierge services,” the report finds.

According to Vikrant Rohatgi, head of KPMG’s Deal Strategy function in the UAE and Oman, “While excellent consumer support, loyalty offers and membership programmes will continue to be important, millennials — who will make up the largest proportion of consumers over the next decade — are likely to demand personalised services and one-on-one engagement — something that UAE retailers need to start planning for now.”

The young matters in online shopping — Generation X consumers (born between 1966 and 1981) averaged nearly 19 transactions per person per year, and they had made more online purchases in the past 12 months than any other age group.

But up the age ladder, there were surprises. Millennials (born between 1982 and 2001) were matched by baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1965) in shopping online.