Dubai: Emirates Islamic, one of the leading Islamic financial institutions in the UAE today announced the latest edition of its ISLAMIC BANKING INDEX by EMIRATES ISLAMIC™, a benchmark survey revealing the progress, penetration, and perception of the Shariah-compliant banking sector in the UAE, as well as the future intentions of the nation’s banking customers.


Star Finding: Islamic banking products bridge adoption gap

· For the first time since the launch of Index, the gap between the penetration of conventional and Islamic banking products in the UAE has narrowed to just 1 percentage point

· 61% of the surveyed customers say they have a conventional product compared to 60% who have an Islamic product

· Islamic banking has grown in popularity in the UAE since 2015 –47% in 2015 to 60% in 2021, while conventional banking is on a downward trend in the same period –70% to 61%

Star Finding: Nearly half of those surveyed –48 percent, agreed that they prefer Islamic banks more since the onset of the pandemic, up from 45 percent from when we first asked that question in 2020.

· Both conventional and Islamic banks have maintained a steady overall perception score at 38%. Overall, perception of Islamic banks remained consistent at 38% since 2019 but has improved from 26% in 2015

· Islamic banking continues to be strong in areas that inspire long-term loyalty as they are perceived to be more financially sound, more supportive of their communities and more trustworthy

· Perception on innovation technology and service continues to be lower for Islamic banking compared to conventional banks

· Islamic banks continue to advance in terms of specific criteria including for being financially sound (48% in 2021, compared to 44% in 2020) and having low transaction fees (39% in 2021, compared to 37% in 2020)

*This year, Awareness Score i.e., the percentage of respondents who are aware of any Islamic banking concept has replaced Knowledge score. Based on the results of previous studies, we no longer measure respondents’ ability to select the correct definition of certain Islamic banking structures.

Star Finding: 35% of the total respondents state that awareness of Islamic banking terms does influence their decision to a large extent, consistent with 2020’s findings.

· 71% of the respondents are aware of at least one Islamic banking product even if they’ve never used them, compared to 59% in 2015

· Awareness of Islamic banking terms among both Muslims and non-Muslims is substantially higher than in 2015.

· Especially among non-Muslims, Awareness increased from 46% in 2015 to 67% in 2021

· Takaful and Murabaha continue to be the highest recognized Islamic banking terms

Star Finding: Better digital technology is emerging as a key decider for consumers to shift to Islamic Banking. Respondents showed a marked preference for better digital technology, increasing from 16% in 2020 to 21% in 2021.

· Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the intention of UAE consumers in 2020 showed a decrease for both Islamic as well as conventional products, attributable to the uncertain economic climate.

· Islamic intention score** has increased slightly from 77% in 2020 to 78% in 2021, but still lower than 2019.

· Purchase intention has remained stable for conventional banking products and a cautious increase for Islamic banking products, but the levels are still to catch up with 2019.

Commenting on this year’s findings, Wasim Saifi, Deputy CEO-Consumer Banking and Wealth Management at Emirates Islamic said, “The results of this year’s survey are testament to the growing relevance of Islamic banking, especially as we look ahead to a post-pandemic world. For the first time since we launched the Index in 2015, we see a closing of the gap between the adoption of Islamic and conventional banking products – it is clear that consumers are increasingly choosing Shariah compliant solutions when it comes to financing and saving. This bodes well for Islamic banks as they continue to be

considered more financially sound, trustworthy and supportive of their communities than conventional banks, which are all factors that will inspire long-term loyalty in customers and clients.”

Expanding on the opportunity ahead for Islamic banking, Saifi added, “As we move into a crucial time in the history of Dubai and the UAE with the hosting of Expo 2020 Dubai, the first world event of its kind to take place in the region, it is an opportune time to harness the momentum currently being experienced by Islamic banking to boost interest in and loyalty to our sector, to stand us in good stead for the future.”

Added Farid Al Mulla, Deputy Head of Consumer Banking and Wealth Management at Emirates Islamic, “As the shift to digital banking continues to grow, we can confidently say that the shift to online and mobile banking is indeed permanent. It is clear that this is an area that needs to be strengthened much more if Islamic banking want to outpace conventional banking’s growth and grow beyond borders. Customer experience is another area that needs to be prioritised to expand Islamic banking’s base and truly close the adoption gap.

The challenges - and their solutions - remain clear. As Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme encourages us toward Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, this is our time to seize the moment and the opportunities afforded to us to bring forth our message to the world.”


**The Islamic Intention Score is the percentage of customers who would subscribe to any Islamic product in the next 6 months among total intenders


Launched in 2015, The ISLAMIC BANKING INDEX by EMIRATES ISLAMIC is a first-of-its-kind consumer survey that measures the progress of the Islamic banking sector in the UAE by tracking consumer behaviour and sentiment towards Shari’a-compliant banking products and services. The Index benchmarks against four key indicators: ‘penetration; perception; awareness; and intention.

Responses were gathered online, in the third quarter of 2021, from over nine hundred respondents aged 18+, with a bank account in the UAE and earning more than AED 5,000 per month. The sample is representative of the UAE banking consumers over 18 years, covers all nationality groups living in the UAE, men and women, across all seven emirates.

Penetration score is the percentage of consumers who have any Islamic product from any financial provider.

Perception score is the average of the ratings of Islamic banks on a range of attributes.

Awareness Score is the percentage of respondents who are aware of any Islamic banking concept.

Intention score is the percentage of those who would subscribe to any Islamic banking product in the next six months among total intenders of Islamic and conventional banking products.

About Emirates Islamic:

Emirates Islamic (DFM: EIB), part of Emirates NBD Group, is one of the fastest growing banks in the UAE. Established in 2004 as Emirates Islamic Bank, the bank has established itself as a major player in the highly competitive financial services sector in the UAE.

Emirates Islamic offers a comprehensive range of Shari’a-compliant products and services across the Personal, Business and Corporate banking spectrum with a network of 41 branches and 194 ATMs/CDMs across the UAE. In the fast-growing area of online and mobile banking, the bank is an innovator, being the first Islamic bank in the UAE to launch a mobile banking app and offer Apple Pay, as well as being the first Islamic bank in the world to launch Chat Banking services for customers via WhatsApp.

Emirates Islamic has consistently received local and international awards, in recognition of its strong record of performance and innovation in banking. The bank was named ‘Best Islamic Bank in Customer Experience, UAE, 2020’ at the World Finance Islamic Finance Awards 2021 and received the ‘Best Digital Innovation in Islamic Banking’ award at MEA Finance Banking Technology Summit & Awards, in recognition of its commitment to service excellence and digitisation.It was awarded 'Best Credit Card in the UAE' for its Skywards Black Credit Card and also received the 'Best Credit Card' award for its Emarati Visa Signature credit card at the 2021 International Finance Awards.

As part of its commitment to the UAE community, the Emirates Islamic Charity Fund provides financial aid to those in need, with a focus on food, shelter, health, education and social welfare contributions. Emirates Islamic is the Official Islamic Banking Partner to Expo 2020 Dubai.

For further information please visit 

Or please contact:
Amina Al Zarooni
Media Relations Manager, Emirates Islamic
Tel: 971 4 4397430; Mob: 971 56 6405080 Email:

Tricia Kaul | Imam Asalie
asda’a bcw, Dubai, UAE
Tel: 971-4-4507600, Fax: 971-4-4358040 Email:  | 

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