78 per cent of respondents were satisfied with their online shopping experience

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 21 April, 2015: MasterCard today released the results of its Online Shopping Behaviour study that indicates that nearly half of the respondents had made an online purchase during the three months prior to the study, of which 78 per cent were 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 4000 respondents across eight markets in the Middle East and North Africa including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“Online shopping is taking off in Saudi Arabia – indicated by the high level of customer satisfaction among those who have made a purchase online,” said Aaron Oliver, Head of Emerging Payments – Middle East and Africa, MasterCard. “As consumers become more aware of the benefits of shopping online, including safety, security and convenience of online transactions, we expect to see a rise in consumers accessing online websites to shop.”

Ronaldo Mouchawar, Co-Founder of Souq.com, the leading online shopping site in Saudi Arabia, said, “Saudi Arabia is the biggest and fastest-growing market for Souq.com, with a strong trend towards electronics. We are experiencing record sales which demonstrates the potential for even further growth. For example, Infinix sold 10,000 Zero mobile devices in the first day it was made available on our site. As the number of people shopping online increases, so do their expectations of service and delivery which is something Souq.com strives to not only meet, but exceed together with our partners, including MasterCard. We currently provide customers secure payment options as well as cash on delivery, a one-year warranty on all products and free returns, all of which enhance the online shopping experience.”

Twenty-five to thirty-four year olds were found to be most likely to access the internet for online shopping and the most popular sites that respondents had visited were Souq.com and Amazon. Other popular sites that attracted the highest levels of traffic included eBay, Saudi Airlines and Namshi. Respondents indicated a slight preference for local websites over foreign websites, citing a fear of hidden charges from retailers and the ability to find all the products they need locally as the main reasons for shopping on local websites.

Respondents also highlighted that the most important factors impacting their online shopping decisions were the price and value of the items on offer, the security of the payment facility, and the reputation of the website.

Mobile shopping

The use of mobile devices to make online purchases saw a gradual increase with nearly one in three respondents indicating they made a purchase on their mobile during the three months prior to the study. The main driving factors include convenience, apps that make it easy to shop online, and the ability to shop while on the move. According to Mouchawar, 30 to 40 per cent of sales on Souq.com are made through mobile devices, demonstrating a huge opportunity for growth in this category.

The major categories of products that were purchased online via mobile phone included airline tickets, phone apps, toys, gifts, clothing, accessories, home appliances and electronic products.

Note to editors: 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 media contact:
Stephanie King
Hill+Knowlton Strategies
04 3344930