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Mobile-driven growth on the rise


TNS report warns UAE marketers to act quickly or risk being left behind.

November 4, 2013 4:53 by

Smartphone and tablet penetration among UAE residents is incredibly high and has outstripped the global average by more than 30 per cent, according to a recent study by market research firm, TNS.

Its annual Mobile Life Study shows that eight out of ten – 78 per cent – residents in the UAE own a smartphone, when compared with the global average of 42 per cent. Additionally, nearly 40 per cent either own – or are looking to own – a tablet. Only 19 per cent actually own one, but that figure is still considerably higher than the global average of 12 per cent.

When it comes to usage and time spent on tablets, regional CEO of TNS, Steven Hamilton-Clarke, says that there has been a hike in tablet sales in the UAE in the past 12 months and that this ‘usage share’ is expected to grow steadily at the expense of smartphones and laptops. He adds that while organisations and governments embrace mobile applications and m-commerce technology, consumers embrace smartphones.

“In fact, approximately half of the world’s mobile owners are ready to use their phone to make purchases and manage money, and here lies the opportunity for UAE businesses across the board,” he says.

As far as the effects of mobile on the region’s retail sector are concerned, he says that it affords unparalleled growth opportunities and marketers should either appreciate this quickly or face being left behind. He emphasises that marketers should look beyond the average shopping experience and use smartphones to deliver an improved experience that inspires, while saving time and money.

“Looking at hypermarkets as an example, shoppers see value in mobile apps that provide services, such as bulk-buy shopping lists and coupons with promotions on regular purchases, while convenience stores would more likely benefit from apps, such as quick-to-find products and mobile wallet services,” he says.

In September, research by Google ranked the UAE as the country with the highest smartphone penetration in the world, with 73.8 per cent of residents carrying at least one device.

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