UAE Shoppers Embrace Digital Tools, Driving Click-and-Mortar Boom

The UAE has emerged as a global leader in shopping satisfaction, with a recent study revealing a strong preference for Click-and-Mortar™ shopping experiences that blend the convenience of digital tools with the physical store environment.

The "2024 Global Digital Shopping Index:UAE Edition, " conducted by PYMNTS Intelligence and Visa Acceptance Solutions, surveyed over 1, 300 consumers and 200 merchants in the UAE. It found that a remarkable 71% of UAE shoppers actively incorporate digital features into their shopping journeys, highlighting a significant shift towards a more tech-driven retail landscape.

This reliance on digital tools translates into higher satisfaction levels. The study demonstrates a 56% increase in satisfaction among Click-and-Mortar™ shoppers compared to those who solely rely on in-store experiences.

Salima Gutieva, Visa's UAE Country Manager, emphasizes the importance of catering to this digital demand. "Our data shows a clear link between the number of digital features used and higher satisfaction, " she explains. "Merchants who tailor their digital offerings will be well-positioned to meet the UAE's growing appetite for a feature-rich shopping experience. "

However, the study also identifies a gap between consumer demand and the availability of digital features in stores. While UAE consumers utilize an average of 14 features, merchants currently offer one less feature on average compared to the previous year. This presents a significant opportunity for retailers to expand their digital offerings and attract a wider customer base.

Key digital features sought after by UAE shoppers include the ability to use preferred payment methods, access mobile apps or mobile-friendly websites, navigate user-friendly online stores and shopping carts, and readily access digital product details and reviews.

Interestingly, the study reveals that while Click-and-Mortar™ experiences reign supreme in terms of customer satisfaction in the UAE, the country's traditional in-store shopping experience still surpasses Click-and-Mortar™ satisfaction levels in some other markets surveyed. This presents a unique opportunity for UAE merchants to leverage their existing in-store strengths and further enhance customer loyalty by strategically adding digital features.

The report also delves into the demographics driving the Click-and-Mortar™ trend. Millennials and Gen Z lead the charge in adopting this hybrid shopping approach, highlighting the growing influence of tech-savvy younger generations on broader consumer behaviour.

Furthermore, the study identifies a significant opportunity for growth within the grocery sector. While nearly 90% of all UAE shoppers regularly utilize digital features, only 45% of grocery shoppers do the same. This disparity points towards a lack of sufficient digital offerings within the grocery industry.

Parents with young children stand out as another key demographic embracing Click-and-Mortar™ shopping strategies. The study reveals that 61% of parents with children under their care leverage digital features while shopping in-store, compared to only 33% of those without children. This highlights the demand for features that cater to the needs of busy households, such as family-friendly pickup options and engaging online experiences.

By adapting to these evolving consumer preferences and strategically integrating innovative digital features, UAE retailers, particularly grocers, can solidify their position as global leaders in customer satisfaction.

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