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Sun 31 Mar 2019 01:48 PM

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Middle East consumers 'more technologically advanced', says PWC survey

Middle East twice as likely to pay using their mobile phones, bigger tendency to shop through mobile

Middle East consumers 'more technologically advanced', says PWC survey
Stephen Anderson, clients and markets leaders at PwC Photo by Jessica Samson/ITP Images

Customers in the Middle East are more technologically advanced when compared to the global average, according to a new survey by PwC, which questioned 25,000 consumers globally and 1,000 consumer in the region, with a focus on Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt.

Speaking at the Arabian Business Tech Forum, Stephen Anderson, clients and markets leaders at PwC said that while customers in the Middle East preferred physical and brick and mortar shopping five years ago, they now prefer shopping online, and are more likely to shop through their mobile phones when compared to the global average, calling them "more advanced than the global average”.

“Customers in the Middle East have a bigger tendency to shop on their mobile devices as opposed to other channels, when compared to the rest of the world,” he said.

In fact, around 76% of regional consumers use Amazon, compared to a lower 65% of global consumers, according to the survey by PwC, with 47% of Middle East respondents using Amazon Prime compared to 38% globally.

“There is huge influence from Amazon here in the region. There is a big uptick - Amazon is here, and it’s not only because of the Souq deal,” Anderson said of Amazon’s acquisition of Dubai e-commerce firm Souq in 2017.

Health and fitness apps

In addtion, Middle East customers have a higher average of health and fitness apps on their phones (3 on average), compared to just 1 on average for global consumers.

They are also twice as likely to use a mobile device to conduct payments compared to the global average.

In addition, 38% of Middle East consumers that were surveyed said they use social media to buy products, compared to 21% of consumers globally.

“Here in the region, social media has a far stronger influence on shopping habits than globally”, Anderson said.

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