UAE consumers are increasingly relying on technology and have a growing desire to be connected, with 67 percent stating that they see value in harnessing the power of technology. This is according to the findings of the UAE edition of a new study by KPMG International, titled Me, my life, my wallet. The report analyses factors driving consumer behavior and choices in the UAE — and how these could change as the customer of tomorrow emerges.
Almost half of all UAE consumers interviewed were impressed with how much a smartphone could help them manage their schedules. With 97 percent receiving their news online and 93 percent on social media, this level of enthusiasm for digital world innovation was beaten only by the smartphone-crazy consumers of China and India.
Interestingly, despite recent global data breaches, 78 percent of UAE consumers feel comfortable sharing their data with retailers and other institutions, but they would be more likely to do so if they saw tangible value. When asked about trading their data for personalization or better deals, UAE consumers were midway between the privacy-conscious Europeans and the more carefree consumers in China or India, with 22 percent saying they would not trade their data at all.
Globally, more than half of consumers expressed anxiety about identity theft, including hacking of financial, medical, or other personal information online; 46 percent were concerned about the theft of credit card details when shopping online; and 38 percent were concerned about the unauthorized tracking of their online habits by companies, governments, and criminals.
The study found that consumers are more likely to trust companies with the data that is directly relevant to the service they are providing. For example, 71 percent of global consumers said that they trust banks with their financial data, but only nine percent said they would trust retailers with this information. Likewise, 47 percent of consumers trust telecom providers with their mobile data, but only eight percent said that they would trust advertisers. In the UAE, sectors that enjoyed the highest level of trust among consumers were healthcare (63 percent), banking (52 percent), retail (51 percent) and technology firms (38 percent), while the least trusted was advertising at 15 percent.
Farhan Syed, Partner, Digital and Innovation at KPMG Lower Gulf, said: “Today’s consumers grow more complex with every passing day – and there is a greater need to understand them more intimately. This is putting more pressure on brands to deliver increasingly personalized experiences in today’s hyper-connected and informed world. We believe that there is a tremendous need to understand consumers’ expectations, especially regarding their data, and it is imperative that organizations do not take this for granted in the future.”
Meanwhile, as the UAE consumer grows accustomed to a seamless physical retail experience, enjoying some of the world’s most iconic malls, matching this experience in the digital world is proving to be tough but necessary if consumers are to switch to spending more online.
“The challenge now for e-commerce platforms is to provide a population that is accustomed to superb offline customer experiences the same online experience,” added Pilar De Miguel Veira, Partner, Head of Customer Advisory at KPMG Lower Gulf. “This will help UAE strengthen its position as a leading regional e-commerce hub in the future”.