Sitecore®, the global leader in digital experience management software, recently announced that 91% of customers in the Middle East and North Africa have become digital converts since the pandemic and want to keep buying everything online.
The research, conducted by YouGov MENA, surveyed more than 650 IT decision-makers across 12 countries in the GCC, the Levant, and Egypt.
Boosted by the stay-at-home economy of COVID-19, the Middle East’s e-commerce market reached $12.1 billion in 2020, representing 53.8% year-over-year growth, according to a recent report by MarketLine. Electronics and retail accounted for $5.2 bn or 42.5% of the total market.
As e-commerce continues to grow, customers are placing greater emphasis on the customer experience. Since the pandemic, 88% of IT decision-makers said their customers will navigate away from a site and choose an alternative if they can’t find what they need in just a few clicks. Furthermore, 87% of respondents agreed that their customers have less patience with slow or poorly functioning websites.
“With 91% of MENA customers being digital converts to e-commerce, the region is seeing a rapid transition from bricks and mortar stores to hybrid and e-commerce models,” said Mohammed Alkhotani, Area Vice President – Middle East and Africa, Sitecore. “Millennials and Generation Z customers have quickly shifted their significant spending power online. Pressure will continue to mount on retailers until they can deliver an experience that delights.”
Brands in the Middle East and North Africa are taking a variety of actions to improve the shopping experience. The majority, 63%, ranked an online app or website that works well on mobile devices as among their top three choices. Also scoring highly in the top three choices were brands remembering customers’ shopping history and preferences (39%), giving preferential treatment in the form of exclusive offers and invitations (35%), and knowing the name during login or customer service (34%).
“Brand loyalty has evaporated and there is no margin for error from browsing through to delivery,” added Mohammed Alkhotani. “MENA brands are already ahead of the curve in prioritizing mobile apps and websites to personalize online experiences.”