With over 16 million active mobile phone subscriptions in the UAE, it has been well publicised that the UAE has some of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the MENAP region, if not the world. Smartphone penetration rates reach over 78 percent2 and can be attributed to the fact that the UAE enjoys some of the most affordable mobile phone service rates in the world, according to a report conducted by the United Nations.
Awok.com's results are indicative of the fact that smartphone penetration is still on the rise in the UAE, with 81 percent of mobile owners aged 16-34 now owning smartphones. These high rates of smartphone penetration, coupled with a love of all things retail means that Internet spending in the Middle East is booming, with GCC countries expecting a 40 percent growth in eCommerce by 2020. Further results from Awok.com, the online retail website report that of all sales made on the website, 45% are made on mobile phones.
In the region, eCommerce sales are expected to reach $41.5 billion, one of the highest in the industry worldwide. The UAE is expected to be one of the key markets for eCommerce with a total market share of 53 percent across the GCC countries3. "Looking at global eCommerce trends, it is obvious that online retailers in the UAE need to migrate to mobile friendly sites in order to survive.
mCommerce is going to be the next megatrend in the region, and smartphone penetration rates in the UAE are a clear indictor of this. eCommerce has been on the rise for the past few years and mCommerce is fast establishing itself as a deciding factor in consumers online shopping choices," said Ulugbek Yuldashev, Managing Director of AWOK.com. "At Awok.com, we have ensured that our mobile site is accessible and easy to use for our customers. We are currently designing an application for our customers to download to further streamline our users journey on our site.
With global trends indicating that eCommerce is making the gradual shift to mCommerce, consumers in the UAE will need online retailers to ensure that websites are as smartphone and tablet friendly as possible.