Dubai: The UAE is leading the e-commerce revolution in the Middle East with five in 10 people shopping for goods and services on the internet, according to the latest research by MasterCard.

The Online Shopping Behavior 2013 study, which included responses from 3,000 people, showed that 51 per cent of consumers in the UAE went online to shop last year, the highest in the region. Saudi Arabia and Qatar followed closely behind with 48 per cent.

The UAE is home to a tech-savvy population and has the region’s highest internet penetration and smartphone ownership rates, estimated at 71 per cent and 73 per cent respectively. The country’s e-commerce is forecast to reach $10 billion (Dh36.7 billion) in value by 2018.

“The steady growth of online shopping trends in the UAE sheds light on the priorities of the technology-savvy new age consumer, who now enjoys the convenience, speed, value for money and safety of their transactions while shopping online,” said Aaron Oliver, head of emerging payments for Middle East and Africa at MasterCard.

Overall, the Middle East’s online shopping is set for ‘exponential’ growth in the next three to five years, as more consumers embrace faceless transactions. It is also forecast that more people will move away from traditional computers to mobile devices, driving further the growth of e-commerce.

Oliver said providing consumers with more options will play a key role in increasing online transactions. MasterCard has introduced in other markets a digital wallet called MasterPass that lets consumers make purchases on the internet, in stores or anywhere….. see more

source: gulfnews