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77% of Saudi consumers shop more online since pandemic began, shows study

77% of Saudi consumers shop more online since pandemic began, shows study
Groceries, healthcare, apparel, and banking have seen the highest surge of online activity.

Riyadh – Mubasher: A Mastercard study has revealed the exponential growth of online shopping, with nearly three out of four Saudi consumers shopping more online than they did before the pandemic.

The study provides insights into how shoppers are increasingly moving away from cash and opting for digital payment experiences, hence, helping e-retailers and businesses in Saudi Arabia and across the region to leverage the shift towards online shopping, according to a press release on Tuesday.

A surge in spending across sectors

According to the survey, groceries, healthcare, apparel, and banking have seen the highest surge of online activity.

More than 68% of Saudi consumers said they had shopped online for groceries, 73% for clothing while over 65% of respondents purchased medicine online and 64% started banking online.

The research also reveals the rising impact of social media on consumer spending habits as 58% and 61% of respondents said they had discovered new sellers through Facebook and Instagram, respectively.

Mastercard has been working with businesses, financial institutions, and other stakeholders to boost digital payments in the kingdom, which enjoys the highest internet penetration and mobile usage numbers in the region with an estimated growth to 96% by 2023.

“With security remaining integral to the shift towards a cashless culture, Mastercard is working with local businesses to take advantage of these long-term trends, and build e-commerce experiences that offer speed, security, and simplicity for a new generation of Saudi shoppers,” said Country Manager, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain & Levant Mastercard, J.K. Khalil.

The rise of virtual experiences

While adapting to the new normal, people have been changing the way they consume entertainment and learn new skills.

About 79% of KSA consumers used the downtime as a positive learning experience while 64% of respondents said they had taken a virtual cooking class and 47% have been mastering a new language.

45% of respondents have been educating themselves on Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects and over a third (37%) said they have been learning how to film online.

The demand for online entertainment has also soared with 73% of respondents having invested in entertainment subscriptions and 62% in online gaming.

Securing new shopping habits

With the rapid rise in online shopping, consumers are also becoming increasingly aware of the associated risks. More than half of consumers (54%) surveyed said that a secure checkout was fundamental for a good shopping experience.

Recognising this, Mastercard recently rolled out its patented tokenization technology across the region. Tokenization encrypts consumer data by replacing card numbers with digital tokens, preventing improper usage at any other location and providing additional security for consumers and merchants alike.