Online spending high in UAE, despite lack of discounts
Average spend in the last quarter of 2009 was $1,048, the highest in the region. But local consumers are hit by high postal charges; local sites do not offer Amazon.com-style money saving offers.
March 9, 2010 12:59 by Ben Flanagan
The UAE has the highest average online shopping spend in the Asia, Middle East and Africa regions, with residents spending an average of $1,048 in the last quarter of 2009, according to a survey by MasterCard Worldwide.
While UAE residents spent slightly less than they did in Q4 2008, consumers say they are becoming more comfortable with shopping on the internet, with 52 percent of the respondents stating that it is convenient to shop online in 2009, versus 47 percent in 2008.
In the UAE, the most popular items bought by online shoppers included airline tickets (43 percent), books and arts (34 percent), CDs, DVDs and VCDs (30 percent) and home appliances and electronic products (29 percent).
This is despite a recent Kippreport survey, which found that UAE shopping websites charge an average of 50 percent more than their US counterparts. Consumers in the Middle East are also hit by additional postal charges levied by international players such as Amazon.com.