Online purchase intentions in UAE have doubled since 2011 for many durable and entertainment-related categories including e-books and event tickets, according to a new study conducted online by Nielsen. About half of UAE respondents intend to make an online purchase in the next six months in high-prominence categories including airline tickets (57%), hotel reservations (48%) and event tickets (43%).
“In the Middle East, online browsing is more used for the pre-shopping exploration and shopping for daily needs is the norm,” said Arslan Ashraf, Managing Director, Nielsen Arabian Peninsula. “Shopping centres and malls have promoted the shopper-trainment culture and also serve as community centres – a physical place to meet, connect and engage. This is an experience which online shopping can’t provide,” Arslan added.
The online market for buying groceries and other consumable products-while not as strong as non-consumable categories-is starting to show promise. Since 2011, UAE online purchase intentions for the cosmetic category increased 5 percentage points to 19%, groceries rose 7 percentage points to 18% and baby supplies jumped 9 percentage points to 17%.
The Nielsen Global Survey of e-commerce polled more than 30,000 Internet respondents[i] in 60 countries to examine the online shopping and purchasing intentions of consumers worldwide. The study provides clarity about global consumers’ buying intentions for both consumable and non-consumable categories in the growing e-commerce landscape.
Online buying or browsing?
When it comes to shopping for event tickets and e-books, or making reservations for tours and hotels, there is a closer correlation between online searching and shopping-those who browse online are also more willing to buy online.
Consumable products, on the other hand, have lower online browse/buy intention rates than non-consumable products, but their browse-to-buy correlation rates are just as strong. For example, with Music, 31% of UAE respondents say they browse, and 26% say they buy: a close one-to-one correlation. Similarly, about one-fourth of UAE respondents say they browse and buy Video / DVD / Games (29%/24%). And roughly one-fifth browse/buy flowers (22%/21%) and toys / dolls (22%/21%).
Products more conducive to online browsing than buying include: mobile phones, electronic equipment and cars/motorcycles. These products can carry a high price tag and often require a try-before-you-buy test run. The browse-to-buy difference for these products averages about 6 percentage points.
While computers are the favoured device for online browsing and buying among respondents in all regions, mobile phones are a close second choice for respondents in the Middle East/Africa region, with 53% of UAE respondents using the device for online shopping – 9 percentage points higher than the global average of 44%.
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