Almost 63 per cent of online consumers in the UAE have shopped online in the last 12 months with almost half of them shopping both domestically and internationally as e-commerce finds favour among residents, research showed.
According to a report by digital payment platform PayPal, about 60 per cent of online consumers in the UAE have made purchases from overseas store in the last 12 months while over a third of shoppers said that they will indulge in cross-border shopping over the next 12 months.
The results were derived from a market survey of more than 17,500 consumers globally, which explored the habits of online shoppers worldwide.
Among the online shoppers polled in the UAE, around 31 per cent said that 11 to 50 per cent of their expenditure is spent cross border while 12 per cent revealed that 51 to 100 per cent of their online shopping is done overseas.
The survey also found that the top three countries that UAE online shoppers opt to buy from are the US, the UK and India.
Of the cross-border UAE shoppers polled, 43 per cent have bought travel and transportation products from foreign websites, followed by clothing/apparel, footwear and accessories (bought by 40 per cent) and consumer electronics (35 per cent).
Other top products purchased from international stores include jewellery/watches, event tickets, cosmetics/beauty products, digital or downloadable entertainment/education, physical entertainment/education products, household appliances, household goods/furniture and toys.
The poll also found that the top factors that made UAE online shoppers more likely to purchase from cross border stores are free shipping, safe ways to pay and the ability to find item that cannot be obtained locally.
Meanwhile, barriers in purchasing from international online stores included concerns about identity theft or fraud, delivery or shipping costs and the difficulty that the item will be different to one that was described online.
However, such challenges are not strong deterrents with 25 per cent of online consumers in the UAE expected to shop cross border more regularly, the survey said.
Almost 23 per cent also said that they will begin buying from local websites while 33 per cent said they will shop regularly from domestic online shops.
E-commerce sales in the Middle East are expected to touch $15 billion by 2015, up from $9 billion in 2012, according to a report by payment solutions provider Payfort.
There are around 4.43 million online buyers in the region spread across countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kuwait, the report said.