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84% of UAE businesses say mobile apps now a ‘must’ to remain relevant to customers

Half of UAE businesses strongly agree that COVID-19 accelerated the importance of mobile and contactless experiences

More than nine out of ten (91%) of UAE organizations now offer their customers mobile apps The UAE now ranks 8th on the global list of cashless economies A quarter of organizations have earmarked a very large increase in mobile marketing spend

With COVID-19 accelerating the shift to digital services and contactless experiences, 84% of UAE businesses say that mobile apps are now a ‘must’ to stay relevant to their customers. This is according to findings from the latest research “State of Mobile App Strategies in the Middle East,” conducted by 451 Research, a part of S&P Global Market Intelligence, and commissioned by AppsFlyer. The research explored evolving consumer behaviors and identified how UAE businesses are correspondingly advancing their mobile application and marketing strategies.

Based on a survey of 250 marketers from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, AppsFlyer’s report highlighted the growing role of mobile apps as a primary interface between consumers and regional businesses. As such, it’s no surprise to see that more than nine out of ten (91%) of UAE organizations now offer their customers mobile apps, with the report highlighting that ‘Customer acquisition’ and ‘Customer retention and loyalty’ are the top two reasons behind this strong focus on mobile applications.

With the growing demand for digital services, and the UAE now ranking 8th on the global list of cashless economies, businesses that have embraced mobile are already realizing significant financial benefits. AppsFlyer’s report showed that 40% of UAE respondents believe there has been at least a 26% increase in mobile-driven revenues for their organization in the last 12 months, with just over one in six (17%) reporting this figure to be more than 50%.

“For companies, some of the most sought-after real estate in the region is on customers’ smartphone screens. This of course makes it a hotly contested arena. Just having an app is no longer sufficient, as for a business to have any hope of growing their mobile market share with loyal, long-term customers, they need to capture consumers’ attention. Mobile marketing is key to this objective, offering consumers the personalized experiences they love while enabling businesses to differentiate themselves from the pack,” said Samer Saad, Regional Manager, Middle East, AppsFlyer.

It’s clear that UAE businesses recognize this need as nearly all (96%) intend to increase their spending on mobile marketing, as a result of growing customer demand for customer experiences. A quarter of organizations (25%) have earmarked a very large increase in spend, which if directed and managed correctly could translate to a significant advantage in outperforming their peers in growing their mobile app user base and revenues.

“Justifying return on investment is paramount in the present economic climate. So, while the intent to increase mobile marketing spend is encouraging, its impact will largely be decided by an organization’s ability to measure the return on investment. This may involve understanding what channels are driving app installs, where loyal customers are coming from, and how customers engage with their brand across the entire journey, regardless of channel,” said Saad.

“As Middle Eastern marketers look to measure the effectiveness of their mobile strategies, multi-touch mobile attribution complements existing marketing success metrics, providing businesses with a sum greater than the parts. Measurement use cases coupled with engagement and retention-centric metrics like customer lifetime value, monthly active users and customer retention rate can help marketers take it to the next level, optimizing acquisition, retention and the long-term profitability of their mobile marketing campaigns and initiatives,” said Sheryl Kingstone Research Director, Customer Experience & Commerce at 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The full report is available as a free download here.