Why mobile shopping clicks in UAE


Why mobile shopping clicks in UAE
Many online shopping sites have launched mobile applications that allow you to shop on-the-go, and experts will tell that you that that's a winning formula.

Published: Fri 24 Mar 2017, 7:30 PM

Last updated: Fri 24 Mar 2017, 9:32 PM

Samina Subhani had been trying for months to locate a very special item for her two children. Both her son and daughter are avid Star Wars fans and had their heart set on owning a pair of replica lightsabers like the protagonists in the movie series. The lightsabers in question are a very popular collectible, and were almost sold out whenever she visited a store in Dubai.
One day however, she was directed to a store's online shopping portal. Geek Nation had the highly sought-after lightsabers in stock; and the best part was that she didn't even have to make the journey to the store in Dubai to purchase them.
Not having to worry about how you are going to pay for something that you found online has certainly added to the appeal of online marketplaces in recent years.
Add to that the fact that many online shopping sites have launched mobile applications that allow you to shop on-the-go, and experts will tell that you that that's a winning formula.

E-commerce is one of the strongest growing businesses in the UAE, and the sector has seen several interesting trends in recent years, including the popularity of mobile shopping applications, different payment options, and an increasing number of shopping categories for women.
Simon Cooper, head of Centrepoint, says "e-commerce has grown rapidly in the UAE in recent years and is forecasted to reach Dh40 billion by 2018."
According to We Are Social, 81 per cent of the population in the UAE are mobile phone users and 40 per cent made purchases via mobile in January 2016.
"About 70 per cent of our orders are through mobile and 30 per cent are from a desktop," says Cooper, adding that 50 per cent of shoppers prefer to pay for their items with the cash on delivery (COD) option, while the remaining 50 per cent opt for using their credit cards.
Described as the Middle East's first unicorn (a startup with a billion-dollar valuation), Dubai-based online marketplace Souq.com has evolved over the years, and Ronaldo Mouchawar, co-founder and CEO, says the Souq mobile app downloads have grown exponentially.
Mobile transactions contribute to more than 55 per cent of the company's business today, he reveals.
"We are a digital company and mobile comes first in any aspect of our activities. We believe if the experience on your mobile exceeds the experience of the desktop/laptop since you have a much bigger screen, the customers will opt for a smaller screen and a better consumer journey overall. We have been consistently investing in our mobile app to ensure seamless hopping experience," he said.
Mouchawar added that Souq.com's two main methods of payments are cash on delivery and through bank cards. "The percentages of COD versus credit card differs by market; for example, in the UAE, our bank card usage contributes to more than 60 per cent of our transactions, however in the KSA and Egypt, COD is preferred over bank cards."
Razan El Masri, Mobile App & Items for Sale marketing manager at dubizzle, an online classifieds portal, adds: "We have experienced an increase in usage since the [mobile app's] launch in 2014. In fact, the platform has now established itself as a mobile-first company, with 63 per cent of users accessing the platform through mobile daily. In the UAE, dubizzle's app is among the top three shopping apps on iOS and currently stands as the number one lifestyle app on Android."
An Awok.com study shows that youth in the UAE are big spenders, with those in the age-group of 25-34 years accounting for half of all online shopping in the country. Next are those between 35-44 years, accounting for almost a quarter (23 per cent) of online shopping in the country.
However, e-commerce in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region still accounts for only one per cent of total retail business. When you compare this number with a region such as North America, where it accounts for between 10-11 per cent, there is definitely room for the ecosystem to grow and capture the opportunity, says Ronaldo Mouchawar, co-founder and CEO of Souq.com, a Dubai-based online marketplace.
- rohma@khaleejtimes.com


Rohma Sadaqat

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