Five in 10 UAE consumers believe online shopping trend will dominate, Mastercard survey finds

Covid-19 has spurred rapid adoption of digital payments

Online shopping has gained significant traction in the UAE. Getty
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Fifty-four per cent of UAE consumers expect an increased trend of online shopping over in-store purchases will continue even after the coronavirus eases, a Mastercard study found.

Consumers believe online shopping will remain popular owing to the “convenience and ease that e-commerce provides”, the global payments firm said in a report on Monday.

Users are also increasingly moving “away from cash and opting for contact-free and digital payments experiences – and they don’t expect to go back”, Mastercard said.

“Online shopping has gained significant traction in the UAE and it is imperative for merchants of all sizes to ensure that they are offering a convenient, enjoyable and secure digital experience,” Girish Nanda, Mastercard’s country manager for UAE and Oman, said.

The payments company interviewed 6,750 consumers across 15 markets – Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Russia, the UAE, the UK and the US – to produce the report.

Mastercard did not reveal the findings from the other markets it polled.

Globally, Covid-19 is spurring a rapid adoption of digital payments and this structural shift will accelerate even as the economy begins to recover, according to consultancy Bain & Company.

A survey Dubai Police, Dubai Economy and Visa in June found nearly 48 per cent of UAE consumers will increase their use of online payments with cards or digital wallets for future e-commerce purchases.

Rising digital transactions have also led to a demand for secure payment channels.

“We are building technologies that ensure all digital transactions are trusted, secure and frictionless by enabling technologies like tokenisation and leveraging our payment gateway capabilities,” said Mr Nanda.

Tokenisation technology replaces a user’s 16-digit account number with a secure token that protects the underlying card number from fraudsters.

Unlike physical cards, network tokens do not expire. When consumers receive a new physical card from their bank, their credentials are automatically updated, eliminating the hassle of reentering their card numbers.

“Emergence of tokenisation has not only enhanced the security of card holder data but has enabled seamless checkout experience for the customers,” said Kartik Taneja, executive vice president and head of payments at Mashreq Bank.

“We are confident that these solutions will help in enhancing customer trust as well as increase the adoption of digital commerce in the region,” he added.

Mastercard has collaborated with in the region to roll out this technology.

"We have seen an acceleration in the shift from offline to online commerce in the UAE driven by the pandemic,” Sebastian Reis, executive vice president, global e-commerce,, said.