UAE’s Smartphone Usage Drives Mobile Retail Growth

With the number of UAE smartphone users on the rise, opportunities for mobile retail is growing.



Smart-phone ownership in the UAE has outstripped the global average by 30 per cent resulting in increased growth opportunities for mobile retail.

According to a survey by research consultancy TNS Global, around 78 per cent of UAE residents own a smart-phone compared to the global average of 42 per cent. The survey also revealed that nearly 40 per cent of consumers in the Emirates either own or are looking to own a tablet.

Furthermore, the poll showed around 46 per cent of UAE residents use their mobile phones for instant messaging while 34 per cent use them to access social networking sites.

“As organisations and governments embrace mobile apps and m-commerce technology, consumers embrace a smartphone,” said Steve Hamilton-Clark, regional chief executive officer, TNS.

“In fact, around 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.”

With the region’s growing affinity towards mobile phones, growth opportunities for retailers have risen.

“Mobile affords unparalleled growth opportunities and we urge marketers to fast appreciate this or face being left behind. Marketers need to embrace this technology, and must do so quickly making sure to tailor services to category and channel dynamics,” said Hamilton-Clark.

He added that mobile services that can be deployed swiftly to meet a (new) demand or need, that will help save time at the shelf, as well as carry shopper benefits, will help fuel category growth.

“Marketers should look to go beyond the average shopping experience and use mobile to deliver an improved experience that inspires, while saving time and money,” he said.

Hamilton-Clark also pointed out that tailoring the mobile solutions depending on the size of the retail units would also impact the user experience.

“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 on quick-to-find products and mobile wallet services.”