PWC Arabia: a big leap in e-commerce in the region thanks to the pandemic

The vast majority of Saudi respondents to a PWC survey reported having shopped exclusively or more online in the past six months.

Fashion has seen an increase in shopping online by 65%, health and beauty by 54%, electronics by 53% and the increase in shopping mobile in Saudi Arabia was particularly notable.

The percentage of respondents who said they use their smartphones at least once a week to shop went from 33% in the year before the pandemic to 45% in March 2021.

Partner of PwC Middle East and Head of Transaction Services, Imad Matar, said in an interview with Al Arabiya that the survey included 8,600 consumers in the Middle East region in three countries: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Matar claimed this studio It was conducted in two phases, the first in November 2020 and the second in March 2021, adding that the main objective of the studio is knowing the measure in consumer behavior has changed in light of the Corona pandemic.

Matar continued: “Indeed, today the change is big and clear and we have come to 5 conclusions in terms of consumer behavior. The first conclusion is the significant increase in shopping online And mobile”.

He pointed out that the PWC conducts this studio for 8 years and there has always been some lag in consumer demand for digital channels, but in the year Corona made great progress until we reached the same percentage of consumers outside the Middle East region .

He said the historic barrier for consumers in the region to enter their financial data on the internet has been broken in light of the Corona pandemic.

Regarding the second trend, Mattar pointed out that consumers are influenced by prices and are more sensitive to them: for example, after the VAT increase in Saudi Arabia, the consumer became interested in low-priced goods, but with the same quality.

He said the third trend represented awareness towards healthy living, explaining that the Corona pandemic helped to know that in the face of the epidemic, so there was a greater tendency to shop for health and other products.

He spoke: “The fourth trend represented growing awareness in Middle East of environmental impact and social sustainability, while the fifth trend has become a greater demand for locally manufactured products due to the challenges faced by supply chains and the travel ban during the coronary pandemic. “

Matar indicated that during the eight years leading up to the Corona pandemic, we have not seen this great advancement in e-commerce and within a year there has been a leap in e-sales.

He predicted that e-commerce will continue to grow in future and will not be temporary due to the pandemic.

He said: “In Saudi Arabia, 45% of consumers have used a mobile phone once a week to shop, which is close to the global level of 50%, and Saudi Arabia is likely to reach international levels in the next poll.. “

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