In-store is still the shopping channel of choice at both the Middle East and at the global level though smartphones are running a close second, especially in the region, according to 2019 Global Consumer Insights Survey published by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Remarkably, the report indicates that this year, for the first time, smartphones outpace PCs as a channel, as 33% of the product purchases in the MENA region were from smartphones.
In regards to payment methods, the report indicates that payment through in-store apps leads the way.
PwC’s survey reveals that the biggest growth in mobile payment was experienced in the MENA, which was up by 20% to reach 45%. In geographical terms, Saudi Arabia is in the lead, followed closely by the UAE. Egypt lags behind with only 29% choosing mobile payment.
This is a long way from a few years back when Saudi Arabia’s consumers preferred cash on delivery payment and reported the lowest percentage of payment via credit cards.
Amazon dominates regional online retail
Moreover, in online retail terms, the survey revealed that over the years, shoppers in the region increased their shopping with Amazon, with 76% shopping with Amazon at some point.
Interestingly, 23% of Middle East respondents use Amazon exclusively, compared to 12% globally.
In response to the longest delivery lead time regional shoppers would be willing to pay a fee for, the UAE showed a favourable response to ‘next day’.
However, Egypt respondents are more willing to pay for ‘delivery within 3-5 business’. Saudi Arabia’s respondents were pretty steady across those two categories, plus ‘same day’ delivery.
“This is a big drop from last year, where 41% of regional respondents were willing to pay for same
day delivery,” the report adds.
Online grocery shopping a regional favourite
In a recent trend indicated in the report, regional shoppers enjoy ordering their groceries online.
Results show that 73% of Middle Eastern shoppers are overall ‘likely to purchase groceries online in the next 12 months’ compared to 50% globally. Marking a noticeable increase from last year, 58% of Middle Eastern shoppers are likely to purchase groceries online, compared to 48% globally.
Finally, the report showed that social media influences buying behaviours strongly. “The power of social media on regional consumers came through clearly in our results, when compared to the global,” the report stated.