The 100% of participants who took part in the survey were female (33 persons). The age of participants varied: 45.45% (15 individuals) were 18 to 24 years old, 39.39% (13) were 25 to 34 years old, and 15.15% (5) were 35 to 44 years old. The majority of participants (59.38%) shopped in the evening. Furthermore, more than half of the participants used mobile phones to make purchases (63.64%).
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Half of the participants (51.52%) used both mobile phones and computers to shop online, while 42.42% used a mobile app, and only 6.06% of participants used a computer. The majority of participants (72.73%) preferred to use online shopping to purchase clothes; 21.21% shopped online for products in the “perfumes and beauty” category, and only 3.03% of respondents shopped online for cellphones and tablets or home décor respectively.
The findings of the survey indicate that the majority of female online shoppers prefer using mobile phones to make purchases; both computer and mobile apps are used to shop online. Thus, respondents heavily rely on e-commerce and services provided by retailers (e.g., online transactions, mobile applications, convenient websites for mobile shopping, etc.), even though e-commerce in the UAE is still developing and has to compete with such strong players as “omnipresent malls” and offline boutiques that are used not only for entertainment but also for socialization (Kassem, 2017, para. 4). Such findings can be explained by several factors.
One of them is the age of the participants: the majority of them are 18 to 34 years old, which means they are highly likely to be acquainted with technology and comfortable using it for shopping. Thus, they create growing marketing demand for e-commerce, making retailers develop applications and services that specifically target smartphone users. Second, less time is spent on mobile shopping, which could explain its popularity.
Fast in-app transactions and processes, compared to purchasing on a PC, significantly reduce the time spent on payment. Some services and shops develop applications specifically for mobile shopping, whereas payment methods in PC versions are less convenient or have a less user-friendly interface. Third, the difference between smartphone and computer use in purchases and shopping should be noted as well. The majority of respondents stated that they use smartphones to make online purchases but use both a computer and a phone to shop.
These findings indicate that the process of purchasing depends on mobile technology (likely because online transactions require confirmation codes that are sent to the owner’s smartphone or as a message within the application). At the same time, computers and smartphones are used for shopping possibly due to the convenience of PC-based websites of retailers that provide more options or products than mobile catalogs (Muhannad & Ahmed, 2014). Some of the platforms also use “buy buttons” to attract consumers to m-services, thus facilitating mobile purchases (Meola, 2016).
Several conclusions can be made from this analysis. First, female online shoppers in the UAE prefer using smartphones for purchasing possibly due to convenience and fast processing. Second, both PC and smartphones are used for online shopping; it can be explained by the fact that not all retailers provide well-optimized mobile versions of their websites. Third, the respondents of the survey prefer to shop for clothes or perfumes and beauty products in the evening, i.e., most likely after work or during leisure time.
The digital economy in the UAE is growing, and more large retailers prefer to sell both offline and online, which stimulates users to use online platforms for shopping (Kassem, 2017). It is expected that the online economy will be growing faster, while the offline economy’s growth will slow down. Online transactions in the Middle East rose by 26% in 2016 (Kassem, 2017). Thus, using the findings of this survey and other research, it is reasonable to expect that online shoppers will prefer smartphones to PCs to purchase products online in the next few years.
Kassem, M. (2017). UAE’s digital sector to grow faster than rest of the economy. Web.
Meola, A. (2016). The rise of m-commerce: Mobile shopping stats & trends. Web.
Muhannad, K., & Ahmed, G. (2014). Customer perceptions of e-commerce in the United Arab Emirates. International Journal of Global Business, 7(1), 95-110.