E-commerce spending in UAE, Saudi Arabia set to surge this Ramadan 

76% of consumers plan to buy more frequently during holy month 

  
Man on laptop internet buying something with credit card. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Man on laptop internet buying something with credit card. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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Digital spending is expected to surge further in the UAE and Saudi Arabia this month, with approximately three-quarters (76 percent) of consumers planning to buy more frequently online during Ramadan, according to a new survey. 

About 60 percent of people surveyed in the two countries said they expect to buy groceries more often this Ramadan, while 50 percent said they might spend more on food delivery, global payment solution provider Checkout.com said. 

The survey polled 1,000 residents in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia from March 23 to 28 this year, to examine the spending intentions of consumers in the two markets during the holy month. 

The coronavirus pandemic has spurred online spending worldwide. According to a recent survey by Mastercard, 73 percent of UAE consumers have been shopping more online since the start of the outbreak last year. 

“There’s no doubt that the way we live and shop has changed drastically as a result of the pandemic. With constraints imposed on our daily lives due to COVID-19, consumers are adopting new shopping and payment habits at an accelerated pace,” said Girish Nandan, Mastercard country manager for UAE and Oman. 

Checkout’s survey 

Overall, the majority of consumers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, approximately 95 percent, said they shop online. Less than a third (26 percent) said they will also be visiting the physical shops less frequently for products and services this month. 

Among most online shoppers (67 percent), the most frequently used mode of payment are cards and digital wallets. About one in three (37 percent) said they also anticipate using cash-on-delivery less this Ramadan compared to last year. 

“Many traditionally cash-centric countries in the Middle East are now converting to higher rates of digital payments. The pandemic has spurred a payments revolution of sorts, and it is not one that is going away,” said Mohammed Ali Yusuf, regional manager at Checkout.com for the Middle East North Africa and Pakistan (MENAP). 

The trend, Yusuf said, provides an opportunity for merchants to “do better by unlocking more value” in every customer’s transaction. 

“This is particularly important during a period like Ramadan when competition among merchants is high, and businesses need to provide the online shopping experience that consumers are looking for.” 

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria) 

Cleofe.maceda@refinitiv.com  

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