Middle Eastern shoppers look online

09 August 2011

DUBAI: Many consumers in the Middle East are now using the internet on the path to purchase, new research has found.

Bayt.com, the recruitment service, polled 11,991 professionals across the region, and revealed 63.4% of participants compare prices and/or acquire products from the web.

More specifically, 23.4% of the sample looked online to find the best deal but rarely made purchases in this way, 14.3% "occasionally" bought items from ecommerce sites, and 11.4% "frequently" did so.

Turning to bricks and mortar outlets, 30.7% of individuals questioned prefer to shop in large malls, and 19% favoured department stores.

At present, 40.8% of expenditure after mortgages or rent is attributable to food and 15.6% goes on school fees. Transport, travel and clothing collectively take a further 23.6% of spend.

Elsewhere, 40.9% of the panel agreed they were not able to save any of their household earnings on a regular basis, while 18.3% manage to retain between 1% and 10%.

"The majority of respondents are spending on essential items only, with very little being used towards entertainment and the purchase of non-essential goods," said Amer Zureikat, Bayt.com's vice president, sales.

"This correlates with earlier data gathered by Bayt.com, and suggests that the current costs of living exceed the salaries received by most professionals in the MENA region."

Upon being asked how they would invest any spare income if it became available, 20.2% of interviewees cited school fees for their children.

A further 18.5% referenced either a car or leisure travel, with 57.8% of consumers only engaging in the latter activity once a year.

However, just 1.4% of adults would like to direct this money to buying more children's products.

Data sourced from Bayt.com; additional content by Warc staff