More than a third of UAE residents make online purchases weekly

More than a third of United Arab Emirates residents make online purchases at least once a week, with 5 percent of residents making purchases online more than five times in a week.

That data showing 39 percent of people living in the UAE go online for purchases each week comes from a survey of buyer behavior by Network International, a payment solutions provider in the Middle East.

The most frequent use of online payments -- 15 percent -- was for remittances to home countries. That’s followed by 12 percent of residents who say they go online to pay utility bills or buy high value items such as property or cars. One in 10 respondents uses an online site to pay children’s school fees.

Most UAE residents still prefer to use cash or plastic to shop in-store for things like groceries or clothes, but 15 percent of respondents said they go online to purchase electronics and 10 percent said they purchase fast food on the move using a mobile device.

The ability to pay quickly with a click, robust security measures, and purchasing on the go were the top three reasons cited in the survey for making online purchases.

The findings show Asian expatriates are the most regular users of online payment platforms, with 35 percent paying online between one and five times a week. Emiratis came in at 32 percent, and Arab expats and Western expats both come in around 30 percent.

Network International CEO Bhairav Trivedi said the adoption of online shopping among UAE residents is important for the nation.

“As the study reveals, customers are increasingly seeking convenient and secure forms of payment alternatives,” Trivedi said. “This is especially relevant in the UAE as the country is certainly way ahead of the rest of the region with its high mobile penetration, combined with its relentless drive to move towards being a smart economy.”