More than half of online shoppers in Oman use the internet to buy airline tickets, shop for clothes and beauty products, and more.
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Muscat, Sultanate of Oman: Consumers in the Sultanate of Oman are now gradually exploring online shopping options, according to the 2014 Online Shopping Behaviour Study conducted by MasterCard. Nearly 20 per cent of those surveyed indicated they access the internet for online shopping, of which 80 per cent said they were highly satisfied with their online shopping experience.
The Online Shopping Behavior Survey, which measures consumers’ propensity to shop online, was conducted at the end of last year and was based on interviews with 3000 respondents from 6 markets across the Middle East. Consumers said they spend the most amount of money on clothing, airlines, travel, beauty care, and medicine, followed by coupons and deals, hotels and groceries.
Aaron Oliver, head of emerging payments – Middle East and Africa, MasterCard said: “Online shopping in Oman is gradually following an upward trajectory and one of the key drivers of this trend is the introduction of secure and innovative electronic payment solutions that have opened the online shopping avenue for consumers in Oman.”
“The e-commerce industry can play a vital role in the growth of Oman’s economy and we are seeing more companies exploring the online shopping platform to grow their business. Financial institutions in Oman are also focusing on supporting the growth of the e-commerce industry by developing customized payment solutions that will eventually raise awareness amongst consumers about the convenience, speed and safety of their transactions while shopping online,” added Oliver.
According to the study, nearly one fifth of the respondents made at least one online purchase last year, a slight increase than 2012. 15 per cent of the respondents identified Oman Air as the most commonly visited website for online shopping. Google and Amazon have emerged as the next three most popular websites for online shopping in Oman.
That said, whereas sites offering travel, groceries, music have seen a significant increase in visitors since 2011, home appliances websites, online gaming, and computer software sites have witnessed a downward trajectory compared to previous years.
Omani consumers were clear about what factors sway their online purchasing decision, citing the price, exchange policy and online reviews as the most important considerations when making an online purchase.
When asked how online shopping could be improved in the future, 31 per cent of shoppers stated this could be done by websites creating more user-friendly platforms. More positive feedback from other online shoppers and elimination of additional service charges also emerged as popular suggestions.
While smartphone penetration rate in Oman is one of the highest in the Middle East region, only 7 per cent of individuals surveyed made purchases using their mobile phones in recent months and an additional 4 per cent intended to use their phones to make a purchase in the six months following the study.
32 per cent of the respondents confirmed that they preferred to shop using their computer tablets. Another 20 per cent stated their preference to shop online via their PCs or laptops.
“With increasing internet penetration levels and introduction of highly engaging mobile shopping apps, m-commerce is certainly an emerging business avenue for companies in Oman. While currently in its nascent stage, mobile shopping in Oman is expected to become popular as consumers become aware of the safety and security features and begin getting more familiar with the numerous benefits of being able to shop on the go,” stated Oliver.
In fact, the convenience to shop through mobile phone and the availability of an increasing number of mobile apps have been voted as the top two reasons why shoppers in Oman make purchases using their phone.
The top three items purchased through mobile phones are groceries, cinema tickets and music.
Other notable results include:
- 15 per cent of online shoppers believe in ‘ethical spending’ and are more likely to buy from merchants who are environmentally responsible, who partner with or donate to charities, and who are socially responsible.
- Shoppers are increasingly turning to local websites to make online purchases, but almost 23 per cent of online shoppers purchase products from foreign websites
- Cheaper cost and being unfamiliar with foreign websites are some of the top reasons for shopping from local websites.
NOTE: More information and previously released MasterCard survey results can be found at www.masterintelligence.com. The survey and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.
MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties
The MasterCard Worldwide Index suite in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the long-running MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, Online Shopping, Index of Financial Literacy, and the Index of Global Destination Cities. In addition to the Indices, MasterCard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Ethical Spending and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering Travel, Dining & Entertainment, Education, Money Management, Luxury and General Shopping).
MasterCard also regularly releases Insights reports providing analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Over 80 Insights reports have been produced since 2004.
MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Conversations Blog and subscribe for the latest news.
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