Mideast consumers increasingly shopping online says PwC report

MANAMA: Fifty-three per cent of residents in the Middle East are shopping more online due to the pandemic, according to a new report by PwC.

GCIS Covid-19 Pulse – a snapshot survey that analyses how consumer behaviour and habits have changed due to the lockdown and social distancing measures – found that consumers who were previously resistant to using mobile payment channels discovered that purchasing goods and services on their smartphone was not only easy but convenient too.

Meanwhile, 39pc of the Middle East respondents said they had increased their shopping via computer, with 31pc using a tablet more often for purchases.

Also not surprisingly, 49pc said they had reduced their in-store shopping, in line with the survey average.



The results suggest in particular that shopping via smartphones will continue to rise after lockdown ends, with 92pc of those consumers who increased their shopping via smartphone reporting that they were ‘very likely’ (63pc) or ‘likely’ (29pc) to continue with this purchase method once social-distancing measures are removed.

In comparison, only 27pc of Middle East consumers in the GCIS 2020 report published in February 2020 said they were shopping for groceries ‘exclusively’ or ‘mainly’ online.

As a result of Covid-19 consumers say they are now spending more on groceries (61pc) and entertainment and media (41pc).



Revealingly, given fear of catching the virus, 37pc report that they are shopping less often for groceries, but filling up bigger baskets.

Meanwhile, expenditure by Middle East urban consumers on clothing and footwear has fallen 50pc since the outbreak, in line with a similar drop (47pc) for all territories.

Restaurant food delivery and pick-up have witnessed the second biggest fall in the Middle East (42pc), a markedly steeper decline than the all-territory average (33pc).

While 62pc of the Middle East survey respondents said they had experienced a decrease in household income due to redundancy or reduction in hours – the highest proportion of any territory surveyed – almost half (49pc) expect to spend more over the next few months.

The region had a strong immediate response to Covid-19 – 76pc of Middle East consumers agreed that their city had been well-prepared to deal with the impact of Covid-19 – far more than the 46pc for all territories.



Furthermore, 81pc of regional respondents agreed that their city has been managing the pandemic effectively, compared with 56pc across all territories.

Commenting on the findings, Norma Taki, Middle East Consumer Markets leader at PwC, said, “It is too soon to tell whether the changes in consumer behaviour precipitated by Covid-19 will gain permanent momentum. However, our latest Covid-19 Pulse results suggest that consumer-facing businesses should keep a close watch on the trends that have accelerated since the pandemic reached the region.

“The lockdown has prompted more urban consumers who were previously resistant to change to try out online retail channels, with most willing to continue to use them once the pandemic is over. In this increasingly digital market landscape, retailers will need to leverage insights gained from data analytics to target consumers and meet their expectations as closely as possible.”


Source: http://www.gdnonline.com/Details/838600/Mideast-consumers-increasingly-shopping-online-says-PwC-report


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