April 26, 2012
Riyadh, KSA, 26 April 2012: MasterCard (http://newsroom.mastercard.com/) today announced the results of its latest online shopping survey, which found that online shopping is growing increasingly popular in Saudi Arabia. Results of MasterCard’s survey on online shopping behavior revealed that 46% of Saudi shoppers access the internet for online shopping, and that online shopping in KSA is led by consumers within the age group of 18-24 years. The survey also found that shopping via mobile phones is increasing, with 26% of consumers surveyed planning to do so in the coming months.
The survey found the greatest proportion of online spend is occurring on music download sites, with 64% of KSA respondents preferring to purchase music online rather than at traditional outlets. Other leading categories are computer software (57%), airlines (50%) and online products/services for gaming/virtual world (48%). It is worth noting that while music download leads in terms of the share of online spend versus offline spend, the results show that airlines lead in terms of absolute value of online purchases.
On average, 49% of respondents who visit retailer websites when online shopping indicated that they visit luxury or high-end goods sites. The survey also found that the most popular online purchasing website for KSA respondents is Amazon (11%), followed by Souq (7%), cashU (6%) and eBay (6%)
Raghu Malhotra, division president, Middle East & North Africa, MasterCard Worldwide said: “It is encouraging to see the positive trends in online and mobile shopping in KSA. More consumers are going online for technology related products as well as day-to-day items and lifestyle purchases. MasterCard’s research on consumer behavior shows that today’s tech savvy shoppers are becoming more aware of the various online shopping options, and becoming more discerning in their decisions.”
In terms of attitudes towards online shopping, 58% percent of consumers who shop online said that they tend to go to the same sites when they have used them before. Additionally, 55% of the respondents stated that it is easy to shop online, and 53% indicated that shopping is a fun way to pass time online. However, 42% of consumers in Saudi Arabia still do not feel secure shopping online.
Amongst the top factors impacting online shopping, respondents chose reputation of the website (73%), secure payment facility offered by site (72%), price/value of the items (72%), speed of transaction (72%) and convenient payment methods (70%).
In addition, more than 70% of consumers plan in advance about products or services they will shop for before going online. Consumers’ research is mostly done through general internet browsing (58%), exploring merchant websites (53%) and looking for online product reviews (50%).
- Cross-border Shopping: The survey also found that respondents spend 48% of their time on foreign retailers’ websites. Respondents are most likely to purchase clothing/accessories (23%) and home applications/electronics (22%) from these foreign websites. In contrast, the main barriers to cross-border shopping were consumers’ perceptions that products are available locally (39%), their concern about the speed of delivery (38%) and their worries about the safety of payments (37%).
- Mobile Shopping: In terms of mobile shopping trends, the survey indicates strong potential for growth in the Kingdom, as nearly 15% of individuals surveyed made purchases through their mobile phones in recent months. Apps (33%), toys & gifts (22%) and music downloads (20%) were the top three categories purchased by consumers in KSA through their mobile phones. Among those who did not purchase through their mobile phone recently, an additional 26% 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 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.