Travel was the worst impacted sector in e-commerce, with a huge reduction in demand for transportation, lodging and ticketed attractions e-commerce during 2020, as most flights and accommodation are now booked online. The UAE is not only a popular destination for leisure and business travel, but members of its large expat population often travel abroad several times a year and represent a significant percentage of online travel sales.
COVID-19 drove a shift from physical to digital during 2020, with basic human interaction increasingly virtualised. Friends and family increasingly communicated via text, voice and video using messaging services like WhatsApp or video conferencing apps like Zoom.
Although the development of digital commerce in many countries has been retarded by low levels of consumer confidence in the security and safety of digital payment systems, this has not been the case in the UAE. For many years, local consumers have been more than willing to use their financial cards to pay for a wide range of goods or services online.
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