The buying behaviours of Middle East shoppers are heavily influenced by social media than elsewhere in the world, a new study has found. According to the latest PwC Middle East findings on Global Consumer Insights Survey, about 60 percent of Middle East respondents said social media influenced their fashion purchasing decisions and 53 percent for tech purchases.
It is no secret that social media is more widely used in the region, than globally. So, it came as no surprise that social media impacts the buying behaviours of consumers in the region. When purchasing, as many as 43 percent of the ME respondents say they have been influenced to buy a product or service following positive reviews they have read, compared to 32 percent of the global respondents. Thirty-nine percent of ME respondents also said they browse social media channels to seek inspiration for purchases compared to 29 percent globally. Also, about 36 percent of regional respondents said they recommend brands/products to others via social media compared to 23 percent globally.
The survey also revealed that the biggest growth in mobile payment was experienced in the Middle East, with a 45 percent increase in mobile payment usage over the period of one year. That is almost double the rate of Western markets and globally, with an overall increase of 24 percent seen over the past year.
Meanwhile, the study also shows that consumers from the region are not afraid to pay premium prices when shopping. It found that Middle East shoppers are willing to pay premium prices in all categories but especially on clothing/footwear, health and wellness, and dining out.
The survey also highlighted the recent trend of regional shoppers enjoying ordering their groceries online as demand for online grocery shopping is seen to be increasing in the Middle East. The survey showed that 73 percent of Middle Eastern shoppers are overall ‘likely to purchase groceries online in the next 12 months’ compared to 50 percent globally; a noticeable increase from last year with 58 percent Middle Eastern shoppers likely to purchase groceries online vs 48 percent globally.
Amazon remains dominant in the region with 76 percent of the respondents shopping with Amazon at some point. Also, as many as 23 percent of the Middle East respondents use Amazon exclusively (vs 12 percent globally).
However, the study also found that regional consumers’ willingness to pay for quick delivery has declined due to an increase in retailer offering free next day delivery. Only 21 percent of Middle Eastern respondents were willing to pay for same-day delivery (vs. 41percent last year).
In-store is still the shopping channel of choice at both the Middle East and global level though smartphones are running a close second, especially in the region. This year, for the first time in the 10 years that PwC has been conducting the survey, consumers surveyed are using
smartphones over other mobile devices to shop online, with 24 percent of consumers using a smartphone to shop online weekly. Smartphones outpaced PC as a channel, with smartphone growth estimated at a 54 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2016 to 2019 in the Middle East.
The survey also showed that Middle East consumers’ in-store experiences rely on a balance of engagement through store layout, the store’s digital connectivity, and personalisation.
The findings concluded that consumers in the region are increasingly using digital technology for more than just shopping, and customer experience is at the heart of what Middle East consumers are looking for.
Norma Taki, Middle East Consumer Markets Leader at PwC said, “It is time for consumer related metrics. Return of Investment should not be the only measure. Consumers are looking for a seamless and easy purchasing journey, and companies can achieve this by mixing physical or human elements into digital interactions. The result is a greater return on experience with the customer and more lasting results for businesses”.
Source from: The Peninsula