Leapfrogging is when an individual bypasses the use of an inferior technology and moves to a more advanced technology. For many people from the older generation in the United Arab Emirates, or from the working-class expatriate community, mobile is the first technology they have embraced.
There are significant issues with postcodes in the Middle East (with the exception of Egypt, which has a sophisticated system – a hangover from colonial times), but with the advent of smartphones and geolocation tagging, such problems have been solved. The United Arab Emirates already has advanced logistics systems that benefit from the use of mobile technology, with customers able to track the delivery pathway for their products.
The United Arab Emirates has amongst the highest social media penetration in the world, owing to its young affluent population – the majority of the population is between the ages of 23 and 35. Each year, the number of 3G/4G subscribers is growing and increasing the potential pool of consumers for e-commerce.
Although mobile internet retailing is being fuelled by the meteoric popularity of social media influencers, bad practices such as fake followers and bots are beginning to erode some consumer trust in these platforms. Some social media influencers in the region also occasionally share ideas that may be contrary to those of the parent brand.
Jolly Chic, a Chinese e-commerce company, has been very successful in building an online Silk Road linking China with the MENA region, especially since it offers low-cost goods and products. One of the reasons is that it has local warehouses, enabling it to shorten delivery times.
Emaar Group’s awaited launch of the online platform Noon.com took place during the last quarter of the year.
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This report originates from Passport, our Mobile Internet Retailing research and analysis database.
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