April 26, 2012
Beirut, 26 April 2012: Online shopping has significant potential for growth in Lebanon, according to the results of a recent MasterCard survey. Results of MasterCard’s survey on online shopping behavior revealed that 31% of respondents in Lebanon have made an online purchase recently, and that this trend is led by consumers within the age groups of 25-34 and 35-44 years. The survey also found that shopping via mobile phones is increasingly popular, with 14% of consumers surveyed having made a purchase through their mobile phones in recent months.
The survey found that the greatest proportion (100%) of online vs. offline spend is occurring on coupon/deal websites. Other leading categories are music download sites (77%), airlines (68%) and apps (68%). It is worth noting that while coupon/deal site purchases lead in terms of the share of online spend, the results show that airlines lead in terms of absolute value of online purchases.
On average, 71% of respondents who visit retailer websites when shopping online indicated that they visit luxury or high-end goods sites.
Raghu Malhotra, division president, Middle East & North Africa, MasterCard Worldwide said: “Online and mobile shopping is an emerging trend in Lebanon, and we see merchants taking this opportunity to develop customized offerings for consumers that cater to their evolving lifestyle needs. This is particularly true for coupon and deal websites, as consumers’ strong interest in these sites continues to gather momentum in Lebanon.”
In terms of attitudes towards online shopping, 43% of respondents in Lebanon indicated that they prefer a hotline for enquiries when shopping online. Additionally, 42% tend to go to the same online shopping sites if they have used them before, and 42% indicated that shopping online is easier than shopping via offline catalogue and telephone. However, 42% of consumers in Lebanon still do not feel secure shopping online.
Amongst the top factors impacting online shopping, respondents chose speed of transactions (58%), reputation of website (57%), convenient payment methods (57%) and price/value of items (56%).
In addition, 54% of consumers in Lebanon plan in advance about products or services they will shop for before going online. Consumers’ research is mostly done through general internet browsing (55%), exploring merchant websites (39%) and browsing in stores to test the product (33%).
- Cross-border Shopping: The survey also found that respondents spend 61% of their time on foreign retailers’ websites. The most popular categories for cross-border online shopping were airlines (25%), retailers for clothing and accessories (19%) and travel websites (16%). In contrast, the main barriers to cross-border shopping were consumers’ perceptions that buying locally is more convenient (31%) and that buying locally is cheaper (28%).
- Mobile Shopping: In terms of mobile shopping trends, the survey indicates strong potential for growth in Lebanon, as nearly 14% of individuals surveyed made purchases through their mobile phones in recent months. Apps (23%), cinemas (17%) and travel bookings (12%) were the top three categories purchased by consumers in Lebanon through their mobile phones. Among those who did not purchase through their mobile phone recently, an additional 13% of respondents are likely to do so in the coming months.
- Ethical Spending: The MasterCard survey also explored the reasons and channels for “responsible” purchasing. It found that more than 30% of individuals purchased items in the last 2-3 years because of one or more ethical reasons, like environmentally friendly items or if a percentage of the sale is donated to a good cause. Approximately 40% of individuals who purchased items because of ethical reasons did so online.
The survey was conducted from 05 December 2011 to 06 January 2012 and reached 12,500 consumers from 25 markets across APMEA. The survey and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.
NOTE TO EDITORS: More information and previously released MasterCard survey results can be found at www.masterintelligence.com.
 The markets surveyed include Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, U.A.E., Korea, India, Singapore, Thailand, South Africa, Malaysia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Qatar, Vietnam, KSA, Egypt, Morocco, Oman, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nigeria and Kenya.
The MasterCard Index on Online Shopping targeted 500 respondents, aged 18-64 years old, per market. All respondents were part of the banked population, access the internet at least once a week and are representative in terms of age and gender of the online population in that market.
The survey was conducted online between 5 December 2011 and 6 January 2012 in 25 countries, including: Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, U.A.E., Korea, India, Singapore, Thailand, South Africa, Malaysia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Qatar, Vietnam, KSA, Egypt, Morocco, Oman, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nigeria and Kenya.
Please note that there is no 2010 data available for Vietnam, KSA, Egypt, Morocco, Oman, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nigeria and Kenya, as they were not part of the 2010 study. Please also note that there is no 2009 data available for Indonesia and Qatar, as they were not part of the 2009 study.
The 2011 report included new sections - Shopping Through the Smart Phone; Cross-border Shopping and Ethical Spending.
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 has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard Worldwide and published by John Wiley & Sons.
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.