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Majority of consumers 'to maintain e-shopping habits'

DUBAI, April 11, 2020

More than 79 per cent of UAE residents have admittedly changed their shopping habits amid Covid-19 developments, while consumers have increased online spending for essential (57%) and non-essential (64%) items, according to a survey commissioned by Kearney Middle East.
 
Despite movement restrictions, UAE consumers prefer shopping in-store at supermarkets for essentials (34%) compared to Saudi Arabia where, after the introduction of the curfew, the most popular purchase channel is now online (37%), it stated.
 
A total of 1,000 respondents based in the UAE and Saudi Arabia took part in the survey held from April 5 to  9, following the introduction of the 24-hour movement restrictions 
enforced by the respective governments to curb the spread of Covid-19 last week.  
 
Out of the 500 UAE respondents, 60% claimed that they spend more on essential products including groceries, food, healthcare and wellness items than they did before the pandemic. 
 
Despite the 24-hour lockdown, visiting a supermarket was revealed as the preferred method of shopping (34%), followed by online (27%), neighborhood grocery/ convenience stores (22%) and hypermarkets (17%). 
 
However, consumers are increasingly turning to online shopping with over half (57%) of respondents spending more online than they did before, said the survey. 
 
Unlike the UAE, the most popular purchase channel among respondents in Saudi Arabia was online (37%), followed by supermarkets (24%), hypermarkets (23%) and neighborhood grocery/convenience stores (16%). 
 
When questioned about the criteria for purchasing essential products, UAE respondents highlighted excellent quality (36%) and availability (36%) as the most important factors, followed by price (28%). This highlights that consumers are not trading down to lower price points counter to general perception, it stated.
 
The survey revealed that expenditure on non-essential items had also increased since the lockdown, with education and books being the most popular (23%). 
 
This was followed by the entertainment category – music and movies (21%), electronics (17%), home improvement and decoration (15%), fashion and beauty (12%) and toys and games (12%). 
 
Online shopping was the most preferred method for purchasing (45%), with almost two thirds (64%) of respondents spending more on non-essentials than they did previously, it stated.  
 
Commenting on the survey results, Debashish Mukherjee, Partner & Head, Consumer Industries and Retail Practice at Kearney Middle East said: "Recent developments related to Covid-19 and measures being taken by governments to protect their communities around the world has impacted retail habits, which for the first time we have quantitative evidence to say, will stay in reasonable measure even after this phase is over."
 
"Though UAE consumers mainly opt for traditional supermarket shopping for the essentials, the survey highlights a growing demand for online shopping. This will undoubtedly shape the future of the industry by both accelerating the growth of online retail / e-commerce and driving a resurgence in local neighborhood supermarkets and stores," he stated.-TradeArabia News Service 



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