Majority of Qatar’s online shoppers use the internet to buy professional development tools, book hotels, purchase digital content for entertainment and more.

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Doha, Qatar: Consumers in Qatar are increasingly going online for their shopping needs, according to the 2014 Online Shopping Behaviour Study conducted by MasterCard. Nearly 50 per cent of those surveyed indicated they access the internet for online shopping of which more than 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[1]. Consumers said they spend the most amount of money on travel, airlines and financial advice, followed by shopping for groceries and home appliances.

Aaron Oliver, head of emerging payments – Middle East and Africa, MasterCard said: “With one of the world’s highest internet penetration rates and availability of secure online payment options, the country’s e-commerce industry is well placed to achieve significant growth. Companies can expand their online presence to grow their business and diversify their customer base. For consumers, online shopping is convenient, fast and safe. When you consider the benefits, it is not surprising that more people are going online to make purchases.”

According to the study, almost half of the respondents made at least one online purchase in 2013, which is nearly double than 2012. Nearly 35 per cent of the respondents identified Souq, the largest e-commerce site in the Arab world as the most commonly visited website for online shopping. At almost 25 per cent, Cobone and Amazon have emerged as the next two most popular websites for online shopping in Qatar.

That said, whereas websites offering coupons and deals, beauty-care brands and apps stores have seen a gradual but steady increase in visitors since 2011, computer software websites, travel, personal education and professional development websites, as well as paid-for local and international news websites have witnessed a downward trajectory compared to previous years.

Qatari consumers were clear about what factors sway their online purchasing decision, citing the security of payment facility, reputation of website, and convenient payment methods as the most important considerations when making an online purchase.

When asked how online shopping could be improved in the future, 40 per cent of shoppers stated this could be done through enhancing payment security. Real-time transactions and complete assurance of security of online transactions also emerged as popular suggestions.

Mobile Shopping

While smartphone penetration rate in Qatar is one of the highest in the Middle East region, only 15 per cent of individuals surveyed made purchases using their mobile phones in recent months and an additional 21 per cent confirmed their intent to use their phones to make a purchase in the six months following the study.

“With increasing internet penetration levels and introduction of highly engaging mobile shopping apps, m-commerce is certainly an emerging business avenue for companies in Qatar. While currently in its nascent stage, mobile shopping in Qatar 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,” added Oliver.

In fact, the availability of an increasing number of mobile apps and convenience to securely shop while on the move have been voted as the top two reasons why shoppers in Qatar make purchases using their phone.

The top three items purchased through phones are mobiles, music and airline tickets.

Other notable results include:

  • Nearly 40 per cent 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 45 per cent of online shoppers still purchase products from foreign websites.
  • Convenience and availability of a wide variety of products locally have been cited as some of the top reasons for shopping from local websites.

NOTE: More information and previously released MasterCard survey results can be found at The survey and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.   

MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties

The MasterCard Index suite in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the long-running MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement, MasterCard Survey on Online Shopping, MasterCard Index of Financial Literacy, and the MasterCard 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 has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard and published by John Wiley & Sons.

About MasterCard

MasterCard (NYSE: MA),, 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 @MasterCardNewsjoin the discussion on the Cashless Pioneers Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

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For more information, please contact:

Sahira Ladha,, +971 4 3323308




[1] UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Lebanon