Nielsen, a global data and research company, conducted research to identify the online products buying trends in the UAE. The results were part apparent, part surprising. While apparel and electronics were obviously to make it to the list, the study also disclosed Emiratis’ growing interest in online tickets and reservations.
Online shopping for products in the UAE is one the rise, and more people are shifting from in-store shopping to ordering products over the internet. Online sales in the UAE have skyrocketed over the past five years, which comes out as a surprise, keeping in mind the lavish malls in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
In this article, we’ll go through the top ten products that residents in the UAE buy online.
Airline Tickets and Reservations
Topping the list are airline tickets and reservations. Emiratis love to travel, and this love seems to translate into online ticket bookings seen over the past years. Most people in the UAE no longer visit offline ticket booking centers, regardless of the means of transport. They prefer staying at home and booking tickets online within seconds.
Another reason why online ticket booking in the UAE is increasing is seamless cancellations. In the case of offline booking, you have to go to the ticket center and wait in a long queue just to get your ticket canceled. This goes for Online Products Buying of all forms of ticket reservations, including airline, train, bus, and more.
As discussed, Emiratis love to travel. Besides spending a substantial amount of money on airline tickets, UAE residents shop products online related to hotel reservations and tours on a regular basis.
The most common destination for the people of UAE is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), accounting for almost 39% of online bookings. Following the KSA is the UK, comprising 7% of the online hotel reservations and bookings made by Emiratis.
Along with airline tickets, Emiratis prefer to shop products online for event tickets and bookings, including movies, games, theater shows, and more. Although the UAE doesn’t have a renowned movie industry, a lot of Hollywood and Bollywood movies have been shot in the country.
Besides, the UAE is one of the biggest consumers of Bollywood movies outside India. The people of the UAE are also very fond of sports, mainly football. These interests of Emiratis have pushed their spending on event tickets to the third spot on this list.
Buying mobile phones remains to be another online product buying trend. The United Arab Emirates is a notable market of smartphones. A total of 5.15 million smartphone sales were reported in the fourth quarter of 2019 in the Gulf region, with 6.3% per quarter-on-quarter. The UAE is one of the biggest economies in the Gulf region. The country witnessed a quarterly rise in smartphone shipments by 6.7%.
Although surprising, eBooks are one of the popular online products buying options in the UAE. The eBook trend in the UAE is new, as approximately half of the population prefers physical hard copies.
But people are identifying the benefit of eBooks over hard copies, which has resulted in the rise of the eBooks market in the UAE. Books based on the history and culture of the UAE constitute most sales. However, emiratis are beginning to move to other genres of reading as well.
Clothing and Apparel
Fashion has always been a point of interest for Emirati people. Both men and women, along with teens, are fond of shopping for clothes and accessories shop online. The Gulf Corporation Council surged to $50 billion by the end of 2019.
The average spending per person on fashion and clothing reached approximately $1,600 in the UAE, one of the highest in the world. In addition, the presence of major fashion and apparel brands like Van Husen, GUCCI, and ZARA, along with athleisure brands like Nike and Adidas, have further propelled clothing sales in the UAW.
Consumer electronics have always been a popular online products buying choice. Emiratis have continuously displayed their admiration for the latest electronic products, including TVs, cameras, laptops, and more. And recently, with the introduction of global brands like Samsung, Sony, and LG, and Dell, UAE has emerged as one of the biggest markets of customer electronics in the middle-east region.
Five years back, the use of software solutions in UAE was limited to enterprises and MNCs only. But now, with digital becoming the new normal, all businesses ranging from startups to enterprises are readily investing in software solutions, like CRM, ERP, PMS, etc. Dubai is now a business hub, hosting a plethora of small, medium, and large businesses. This rising demand has surged the sale of software products in the UAE.
The UAE has a lively music scene that consists mostly of expatriates. The majority of local artists play rock and metal music, with some bands also playing alternative styles like ska, punk, and house. Regardless of the genre, Emiratis love music, and they don’t mind spending a dollar or two on music streaming services.
Online expenditure on music services has increased over the last couple of users, with music streaming services like Spotify and Amazon Prime becoming prevalent in the country.
Games and DVDs
The gaming culture in the UAE is not well-known, but it’s growing. The increased creaze of gaming is evident, as about a quarter of respondents in this study agreed that they shop products online for video games or other DVDs online. The gaming scene in the UAE is still raw, but an impressive development is anticipated in a few years down the line.
Back in the day when online shopping was still a new concept, the majority of online sales in the UAE comprised clothes and electronics. But with notable advancements in e-commerce and digital payments, UAW residents are no longer hesitant in buying almost anything online.
Though fashion and electronic products still make a significant portion of online sales in the UAE, there’s been an increase in online products buying airline tickets, hotel reservations, and event tickets.