8 out of 10 shoppers in UAE, Saudi Arabia prefer to see items in store before buying online

Consumers like to compare prices between brands, according to a new survey


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Wed 31 Jan 2024, 12:09 PM

Last updated: Wed 31 Jan 2024, 10:37 PM

Nearly 8 out of 10 – 78 per cent – of shoppers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia opted to buy items online after seeing them in-store and comparing prices between brands, according to a new survey released on Wednesday.

Released by the shopping and financial services app Tabby, the study found that shoppers also prefer shopping online but appreciate expert in-person advice and will still overall opt for a mix of shopping experiences.

Importantly, the role of social media is becoming increasingly important as data revealed that 45 per cent of buyers purchased items through social media, while 72 per cent of shoppers find retail inspiration online and will likely know exactly what they want to buy in-store before going shopping.

Hosam Arab, CEO and co-founder of Tabby, said information is key in today’s competitive e-commerce market, and there is a need to create an ecosystem that has a shared goal of giving shoppers the best experience possible.

Online shopping has increased massively in the UAE and Gulf region, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic. To cash in on the growing e-commerce industry, many new players have also entered the market, which source products from other countries and sell locally in the UAE through digital platforms and apps.

Covering 7,500 shoppers across the two Gulf countries, the survey found that shoppers value both the product and the experience of getting it. When consumers were asked about what makes them shop again at the same brand, 55 per cent said product quality, 37 per cent said receiving their purchase on time, and the same percentage said good customer support.

Online shopping frustration

The survey also found that more than 8 out of 10 shoppers – 82 per cent – in the UAE and Saudi Arabia found online shopping frustrating due to website navigation.

The study found that young shoppers aged between 18 to 29 years are twice as likely to get frustrated over slow e-commerce websites.

The survey revealed that 60 per cent of shoppers abandoned online purchases due to payment issues, with young shoppers more cautious about sharing their payment details.

It found that 30 per cent of shoppers are exclusively loyal to brands that offer them a good shopping experience.

While shopping online, 23 per cent of UAE shoppers indicated that free shipping is a key driver for shoppers in the region.


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