UAE among top globally in shopping satisfaction

UAE among top globally in shopping satisfaction

71% of consumers incorporate digital features into their shopping experiences, with nearly half (43%) of all consumers doing so to improve their in-store shopping experiences. 

A recent survey conducted by PYMNTS Intelligence and Visa Acceptance Solutions has revealed that the UAE ranks second globally in shopping satisfaction, with 71% of consumers in the country making extensive use of digital features to enhance their shopping experiences. 

The 2024 Global Digital Shopping Index: UAE Edition conducted from September to December 2023 – surveyed 1,392 consumers and 212 merchants in the UAE and draws comparative insights from a larger survey of 13,904 consumers and 3,512 merchants across seven countries. 

The study captures recent trends in consumer behavior and documents the rise of Click-and-Mortar shopping experiences, which involves both digital tools and physical locations and replaces the siloed world of online-only or in-store-only shopping.  It found that there is a strong appetite for an enhanced Click-and-Mortar experience in the UAE as consumers utilise an average of 14 different digital features, with nearly nine in 10 retail shoppers depending on these digital aids for their in-store shopping experiences.

With merchants currently offering one fewer feature on average than they did in the past year, UAE merchants have an opportunity to expand their shopper base and plug the gap between consumer demand and market supply of digital features.  

Salima Gutieva, Vice President and Country Manager for the UAE, Visa, emphasised that in a retail landscape increasingly driven by digital innovation, merchants tailoring their digital offerings to their diverse consumer base will be critical to meet the UAE’s demand for a high-quality, feature-led shopping experience. She said: “Digital features can simplify shopping, and our data finds a correlation between more features used with higher satisfaction. For instance, Click-and-Mortar shoppers in the UAE have an average 56% increase in satisfaction relative to in-store-only shoppers who avoid digital features.”  

However, the UAE’s in-store-only experience tops even Click-and-Mortar shopper satisfaction in some of the other markets surveyed. “This presents an opportunity for Visa to partner with UAE merchants to build on this lead by layering digital features atop an already first-rate in-store experience and to ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty,” Gutieva added. 

Key findings from the survey include: 

71% of UAE consumers incorporate digital features into their shopping experiences. 

  • Extensive use of digital features improves in-store shopping experiences of UAE consumers and leads to high satisfaction rates. 
  • Ability to use preferred payment method; mobile app or mobile-specific site; easy-to-navigate online store and/or shopping cart and digital availability of product details and reviews are among the key digital features used by UAE consumers. 
  • In the past year, the number of features consumers use, on average, has risen, even as the average variety merchants offer has fallen by one feature. 
  • Merchants do not provide 22% of the features consumers desire while consumers cannot find 22% of the provided features they look for. 

Click-and-Mortar adoption rates have plateaued across the UAE in the last three years despite high consumer reliance on digital features. 

  • Nearly three-quarters of shoppers in the UAE embrace online-only or Click-and-Mortar methods, departing from traditional in-store shopping without digital aids. 
  • 43% of UAE consumers adopt Click-and-Mortar shopping strategies, four percentage points more than the global average of 39%.  
  • Demographics significantly influence Click-and-Mortar shopping strategies. 
  • Millennial and Generation Z consumers are the leading age cohorts driving the shift to Click-and-Mortar strategies in the UAE. 
  • A clear market exists for merchants to broaden their digital offerings and meet the robust appetite for Click-and-Mortar shopping strategies. 

Ample opportunity for improvements, notably in providing digital features across the grocery sector. 

  • 89% of retail customers in the UAE regularly turn to digital features compared to 45% of grocery shoppers. 
  • Less than half of grocery shoppers utilise digital aids primarily due to insufficient offerings from grocers. 
  • The average UAE shopper uses roughly 14 features overall, while grocery shoppers here have different digital needs and typically use just 10 features. 
  • To maintain their leading position in customer satisfaction, UAE merchants, especially grocers, must innovate or risk under providing features their customers want. 

Parents in the UAE use Click-and-Mortar shopping strategies more often than any other demographic. 

  • 61% of parents with children under their care use digital shopping features when shopping in-store compared to 33% of those who do so without children under their care. 
  • There is a notable demand for features that accommodate the needs of busy households.  
  • Tailoring digital offerings to these demographics, prioritising features such as family-friendly pickup options, and creating engaging online experiences will be key to meeting the specific needs of this sizeable consumer group. 
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