MENA shoppers enthusiastic about online shopping but want delivery flexibility

Adgully Bureau |

Dubai, UAE: DHL eCommerce has completed a new Online Shopper Survey for 2023 to analyze e-commerce purchasing patterns across the globe, including the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The Online Shopper Survey offers insights on where and why people shop cross-border, what they buy and spend on, their attitudes to delivery and returns, and why sustainability matters to online shoppers worldwide.

The survey found that MENA shoppers were the most likely to buy cross-border (67%). But who delivers their goods matters – with customers expressing that they would abandon a purchase if not offered the delivery option they want. Furthermore, 69% said they wanted free, next-day delivery. They were also the most likely to demand free returns, with 1 in 3 still preferring to pay cash on delivery.

Furthermore, a vast majority (81%) of MENA shoppers insist on knowing the delivery company before making a purchase. More than half (58%) of MENA shoppers only buy from sites offering free returns. Almost half (48%) cite better quality as the top reason to buy abroad. MENA shoppers were also among the least satisfied with local deliveries (85%).

Yasmina Beloued, Regional Commercial Director Fashion & Luxury at DHL Global Forwarding, MEA, said: "This survey highlights how delivery providers play a crucial role in the online shopping journey and why delivery flexibility and transparency are crucial for customers. As the e-commerce market in the region is forecast to reach $57 billion in 2026 , it will be critical for online retailers to plug gaps in the consumer journey to ensure the best possible outcomes. Our report provides numerous and valuable insights into what Middle East retailers need to address to ensure customer happiness and successful customer journeys.”

The survey highlighted a growing appetite for online shopping among UAE residents, as almost one fifth expressed shopping online at least once day. The survey identified swift delivery as a key priority for these consumers, with 45% saying that long delivery times frustrated them the most when shopping online. 54% of UAE customers also said free delivery would vastly improve their online shopping experience, and 96% said they would abandon their shopping basket if not offered their preferred delivery options.

Customers expressed their displeasure at hidden costs when shopping online, with 42% of MENA shoppers only buying from sellers who rolled delivery charges into the cost of the goods. Sustainability was an important aspect for online shoppers too. The survey showed that customers in the MENA are willing to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to sustainable shopping, with 42% of UAE shoppers saying they would be willing to spend more for sustainable delivery.