In an online survey conducted by Nielsen, nine out of ten UAE respondents say they have only ever shopped online, and travel and entertainment categories seem to dominate this space.
Two-thirds of UAE respondents stated that they have purchased travel products or services online (67 per cent), while 40 per cent said they have bought event tickets online – these numbers are higher than the Africa–Middle East regional average (41 per cent and 24 per cent, respectively).
Many in the UAE also ranked fashion (40 per cent) and IT/mobile items (38 per cent) as the most sought after products on e-stores.
Consumables, on the other hand, still have some way to go before people get comfortable buying these items online. These include consumer packaged goods such as products for babies and young children, as well as medicines, healthcare items, household cleaning products and fresh groceries.
In the UAE, 65 per cent of respondents stated that they prefer to buy fresh household groceries at a physical store and will not consider buying them online. Images simply cannot replace the physical look, feel and smell of these products, they explained.
When asked about their level of willingness to utilise digital options to order groceries online for home delivery, only 16 per cent cited they are already using such services, while 39 per cent said they are definitely willing and 30 per cent said they were somewhat willing, indicating that online grocery stores still have a long way to go before they become as ubiquitous as your neighbourhood brick-and-mortar outlet.