The UAE has become the second largest market for smartphone commerce with the majority of the online shoppers purchasing through a mobile, a study has shown.
According to a report by payment solutions provider Paypal and Ipsos, around 57 per cent of online shoppers in the UAE purchased online via a smartphone over the last 12 months.
The Emirates came second only to China, which saw about 68 per cent of online shoppers making a purchase through a smartphone over the last 12 months.
UAE’s online shoppers also said that smartphone purchases made up at least 24 per cent of all their online spend in the last 12 months.
While the research revealed that the surge in global online spend through mobiles is being driven by young adults, the trend is slightly different in the UAE.
Just about 32 per cent of the UAE’s smartphone users are aged between 18 and 29 while 61 per cent of the users fall under the age bracket of 30 to 49 years.
Online shoppers in the UAE also showed a preference to purchase via an app over a browser. Almost 59 per cent of those polled said that they shopped via a smartphone app in the last 12 months over 52 per cent who used a browser.
Product research, location search and price comparison were the top commerce related activities among UAE online shoppers.
But despite a steady rate of growth in mobile commerce, the study noted that barriers still remain.
Smaller screen size and concerns about online safety are also reasons why online shoppers do not purchase as frequently though smartphones, the study found.
Over 34 per cent of UAE online shoppers, who own a smartphone but do not shop online with it, say that they prefer purchasing from other devices such as laptop and desktop.
A similar percentage of users said that they refrain from smartphone purchases due to small screens.
“With the advent of lost cost mobile phones, larger phone screen sizes and mobile device security improvements, the barriers to mobile commerce will decrease,” said Anuj Nayar, senior director of global initiatives for PayPal.
The UAE has one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world, according to a Google study.