April 26, 2012
Doha, Qatar, 26 April 2012: Online shopping is growing increasingly popular in Qatar, according to the results of a recent MasterCard survey. Results of MasterCard’s survey on online shopping behavior revealed that 49% of shoppers in Qatar access the internet for online shopping, being led by consumers within the age group of 45-49 years. The survey also found that shopping via mobile phones is increasing, with 11% of consumers surveyed planning to do so in the coming months.
The survey found the greatest proportion of online spend is occurring on airline sites, with 70% of respondents in Qatar preferring to purchase airline tickets online rather than at traditional outlets. Other leading categories are music downloads (69%), tickets for music concerts/performing arts (66%) and medicine/pharmaceuticals (64%).
On average, 34% of respondents who visit retailer websites when shopping online indicated that they visit luxury or high-end goods sites.
Safdar Khan, market manager, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, MasterCard Worldwide said: “It is encouraging to see the positive trends in online and mobile shopping in Qatar. More consumers are going online to download music, to buy medicines or to plan their holidays. Our research shows that consumers are comfortable making sizeable purchases like airline tickets from their computers or mobile phones, and we believe that this is a great opportunity for banks and merchants to tap into this segment and offer consumers more value-added benefits.”
In terms of attitudes towards online shopping, 71% of consumers who shop online said that they tend to read and consider online reviews of products before purchasing. Additionally, 62% of the respondents stated they prefer a hotline for enquiries when shopping online, and 61% indicated that online shopping is easy. However, 48% of consumers in Qatar still do not feel secure shopping online.
Amongst the top factors impacting online shopping, respondents chose secure payment facility offered by site (88%), price/value of the items (88%), convenient payment methods (87%) and speed of transaction (84%).
- Cross-border Shopping: The survey also found that respondents spend 54% of their time on foreign retailers’ websites. Respondents are most likely to purchase airline tickets (30%) and home applications/electronics (23%) from these foreign websites. In contrast, the main barriers to cross-border shopper were consumers’ perceptions that they can find all the products they need locally (55%), buying locally is cheaper (46%) and buying locally is more convenient (45%).
- Mobile Shopping: In terms of mobile shopping trends, the survey indicates strong potential for growth in Qatar, as 6% of individuals surveyed made purchases through their mobile phones in recent months. Airline tickets (37%), apps (28%) and home appliance and electronics (12%) were the top three categories purchased by consumers in Qatar through their mobile phones. Among those who did not purchase through their mobile phones recently, an additional 11% 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 approximately 50% 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 50% 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.