Online spending in the UAE and is expected to reach Dhs33 billion ($8.98 billion) by 2018, according to a study by PayPal and Ipsos.
According to the study, 68% of adults in UAE shopped online in the past 12 months, up from 63% in 2015. Half of online adults surveyed (48%) said they would increase their online spending in the next 12 months, citing the convenience of shopping online.
The study named the Middle East as one of the regions with the highest incidence of cross-border online shoppers.
This is supported by the fact that 46% of UAE consumers surveyed said they had purchased goods from overseas companies.
Travel and transportation were the most common cross-border shopping category in the UAE in the past 12 months, while a third of cross-border shoppers purchased event tickets, according to the survey.
The US was the most popular cross-border online shopping destination for UAE shoppers. Shoppers from UAE spent an estimated Dhs2.4 billion on purchases from US websites in the past 12 months, followed by India and China.
Factors such as having a secure way to pay, free shipping and proof of product authenticity encouraged UAE shoppers to buy cross-border products online.
According to the study, with high rates of mobile penetration in the UAE, online shoppers are increasingly opting to make purchases on their mobile devices.
This resulted in an estimated 29% growth in mobile spend between 2015 and 2016 to reach close to Dhs10 billion.
“Backed by UAE’s diverse and global population and high mobile penetration rates, consumers are looking internationally to source their favorite products and services,” said Kivanç Onan, senior regional director, PayPal Middle-East and North Africa.
The study investigated the online domestic and cross-border shopping habits of more than 28,000 consumers in 32 countries.
It is no surprise that online spending is on the rise in the UAE, which has for long has the region’s most savvy and open shoppers when it comes to e-commerce.
An increasing number of UAE shoppers are even ready to reveal personal details to digital marketers only if there are rewards in return, according to a study done by the market research consultancy Aimia.
The ‘value’ of such data exchange could be worth anywhere from Dhs50 to Dhs80 for each bit of personal data. They expect the most in return for shelling out their email and mobile number details and less for marketers to know about their shopping habits, online and offline, as well as personal data such as name and date of birth.
In return for such data, retailers must be willing to pay up in the form of discounts, rewards, loyalty schemes, according to the survey.