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48% of GCC residents prefer to shop online, security an issue

UAE – A recent survey commissioned by Seamless Middle East 2017 – the region’s most extensive tech and solution exhibition for the payments, e-commerce and retail industry – reveals that 48% of GCC residents prefer to shop online, with 33% of respondents stating that going for a shop online is just as safe as offline shopping.

The Arab Federation for e-Commerce (AFEC) revealed last month that the region’s current share of the e-commerce market only represents one percent of the global market; however, the survey results highlight the increasing opportunity for e-commerce in the region.

Online opportunities

“The existing appetite for online shopping in the Middle East poses a promising opportunity for international and regional investors in the e-commerce sector,” said H.E. Dr. Eng. Ali Al Khouri, First Deputy Chairman of the Arab E-commerce Union, and Chairman for the Supreme Committee.

“The Arab Federation of e-commerce will play a central role in supporting and advising the public and private sectors in the Arab states to ensure continuous growth and further development of e-commerce in the region, as we strive to capture a fair share of the global digital industry.”

Amna Lootah, Assistant Director General, Finance and Commercial at Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA), said: “At DAFZA, we provide vibrant support to businesses across all sectors operating within the Freezone, including the necessary support system for the e-commerce sector, which is now booming due to the growing popularity of online shopping in Dubai, the UAE, the entire region, and the rest of the world. This also complements the Dubai Plan 2021 to become a leading smart city and to diversify the economy.  We will continuously work to contribute to the local sector’s strength to ensure that it keeps pace with the ever-evolving international developments and trends.”

To shop or not to shop

Despite the willingness of GCC residents to fully embrace e-commerce, 34% of survey respondents claimed that a lack of confidence in payment security deters them from shopping online. 29% of UAE respondents still feel that offline shopping is more secure, with only 31% considering online shopping equally as safe.

Commenting on the topic of payment security in the region, Eric Claudel, Senior Vice President Banking & Payment Solutions for the CISMEA region at Gemalto, the world leader in digital technology said: “The current and projected growth of e-commerce in the region has facilitated and encouraged accelerated development of digital payment experiences. The demand for optimized payments experience – in terms of speed, convenience and multi-channel accessibility but most importantly in terms of security – is growing at a fast pace. The key to ensuring customer satisfaction is delivering a seamless experience through secure, frictionless and innovative payment solutions.

The survey was conducted by YouGov in March 2017, with over 2,700 participants from across the GCC including the United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar.

Regional and international experts will discuss best practices and future trends in the payments, e-commerce and retail industries at Seamless Middle East 2017, 1-2 May