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Will UAE shoppers choose between browser or in-store this gifting season? Prices and payment options will decide the outcome. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: UAE shoppers are willing to spend more on their end-of-year gifts - with a little help from in-store financing or an alternate payment plan. At zero per cent interest, if possible.

How retailers package their deals will be vital when shoppers decide between an in-store purchase or go through the browser route and pick up online. This holiday season all this becomes even more vital as consumers hold back on their spending.

Nearly 66 per cent of UAE shoppers - in a new Oracle Retail poll - believe current economic factors will cause them to spend less overall. And 84 per cent said they would consider a store financing or payment plan to cover the costs of gifts.

“Next to inventory availability, price is the leading factor in how and where consumers will shop this holiday season,” said Mike Webster, Senior Vice-President and General Manager of Oracle Retail. “For retailers still dealing with the constant loop of limited inventory supplies or surpluses, getting merchandise and pricing strategies right will be make or break when it comes to managing margins and customer expectations.”

Pricing needs to be on the ball

UAE shoppers are 'ready to hit buy’ if the reckon the price is right, with 55 per cent surveyed citing cost as the main factor in moving them from a browser to a buyer.

Early shopper advantage

Sure, the Black Friday promotions have just gotten over, and by all measure, generated quite a bit of buzz from shoppers. But those shoppers still undecided on their end-of-year gift buys plan to start looking out for deals early. In fact, 85 per cent of UAE consumers ‘already have, or plan to, shop early to ensure they can get the items they want and have more time to shop for deals’.

Caution is the buzzword

According to the Oracle Retail poll, some 36 per cent of UAE shoppers are ‘worried’ they won’t have the money they would like to spend on holiday shopping due to rising prices. And 46 pr cent are concerned that the gifts they want to buy will be more expensive this year.

Nearly three-quarters plan to bide their time until the ‘big retail sales moments’. (Black Friday and Amazon Prime Days are when 55 per cent of UAE shoppers planned to do the bulk of their purchases. This was followed by this month’s holiday sales (36 per cent).)

Making the gift list

This year, shoppers are more likely to chase experiences than go for something more tangible. In terms of preferences, UAE consumers plan:

Experiences with friends and family (46%) Fashion apparel (43%) Gift cards (34%) Beauty/personal care products (38%) Footwear (40%) Electronics (31%) Toys (30%); and even on NFTs or digital collectables (25%)

Will stores have what shoppers want?

“Merchandise in the wrong place at the wrong time can be the biggest cost to a retailer,” said Webster. “We know out-of-stock inventory compromises top-line growth and customer satisfaction.

“Equally as important is its impact on margins. Retailers must be proactive in their placement of inventory as they consider size, style, and color of the assortment to avoid massive store-to-store transfer costs.”

46 per cent of people in the UAE plan to shop mostly in-store and 29 per cent in-store and online.

38 per cent of people said out-of-stock items would constitute a bad experience.

22 per cent said they would simply go to another retailer if a product was not in stock.

Delivery plans
Home delivery - at (71 per cent - is still ‘by far the most popular method to collect items bought online, compared to curbside (17 per cent) or in-store pick up (9 per cent) for UAE shoppers.
This will create ‘urgency' for retailers to ensure gifts are delivered on time, while providing clear transparency along the way.
58 per cent of people said fast delivery often determines who they will order from.
21 per cent of people expect same-day delivery.
53 per cent are fine with 1-2 day delivery.
20 per cent can wait for 3-5 day delivery.

65 per cent are willing to pay more for expedited/guaranteed delivery.
And 67 per cent would consider booking a standalone delivery/collection service (like a DoorDash) to ensure they get their gifts on time.