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SMBs and consumers in UAE have adopted new behaviours amid COVID-19

Wednesday 19 August 2020 14:49 CET | News

Visa has published its global Back to Business study assessing the dramatic shift to digital commerce in response to the pandemic, driven largely by changing consumer expectations.

According to the press release, as SMBs continue to endure the financial impact of COVID-19, one thing is clear: rethinking the checkout or point-of-sale (POS) experience is essential for survival. 

Therefore, some key findings regarding changes in consumer behaviour include:

  • New normal means new habits: According to the study, 90% of UAE-based consumers have changed how they pay for purchases due to COVID-19, including shopping online when possible (59%), using contactless payments (52%), and not using cash as much (40%). 

  • Safety means touchless: Contactless payments have become a driving differentiator, as 90%, of UAE-based consumers would switch to buying from a store that installed contactless payment systems. In fact, almost 72%, wouldn’t shop at a store that only offers payment methods that require contact with a cashier or other shared devices. 

  • SMB optimism vs. consumer realities: Despite the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, nearly 94% SMBs in the UAE are beginning to feel optimistic about the future of their business, but estimate it will be about six months before their businesses are back to full operation.

On the other side, regarding how SMBs are facing these challenges, Visa unveiled the following insights:
  • Pivoting to a digital-first mindset: SMBs in the UAE have shown willingness to evolve in the face of change. In fact, 94% of SMBs in the UAE, compared to 67% globally, have pivoted to keep their businesses on track since the outbreak, while 44% have allowed contactless payments for the first time since the start of COVID-19. Additionally, 59% reported that their business has accepted less or stopped accepting cash during the pandemic.

  • Long-term outlook and top concerns: Despite their willingness to adapt to new trends, 92% of merchants in the UAE still have concerns about shifting their business online or increasing online presence, highlighting the need for additional support to help SMBs transition to digital. 


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Keywords: Visa, study, UAE, Back to Business, digital commerce, ecommerce, COVID-19, consumer behaviour, SMBs, checkout, point-of-sale, POS, online shopping, contactless payments, payment methods, merchants
Categories: Payments & Commerce | Payments General
Countries: United Arab Emirates
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce