As 2020 comes to an end, many people are carefully planning unique holiday celebrations, many of which are socially and geographically distant, mostly sending gifts to their loved ones across the world. But how is this practice different in our region this year?
Covid-19 to impact #UAE holiday #shopping. Consumer habits wrought by the pandemic remain in place and will probably shape retail sales towards the end of the year in the Arab country. https://t.co/soDqBmNlkj pic.twitter.com/P54z4fm4GP— ANBA (@ANBABrasilArabe) November 23, 2020
Due to the cultural and religious diversity of the Middle East, the holiday season isn't the only major shopping event throughout the year, yet it drives huge sales in a number of countries. In the UAE for example, the Dubai Shopping Festival has begun on the 17th of December coinciding with a number of successful shopping events during this season.
Marketing campaigns have been launched since late October all across the world, promising irresistible offers and slashed prices, so people can still have a jolly holiday season despite the pandemic.
Last November, sales during the week of "White Friday" went up by 200% in the UAE, mostly driven by online sales that have been sharply spiking as many people found it a safe method that can help them buy their favorite items and stay safe.
Even before the pandemic, UAE online sales have witnessed huge growth, mostly influenced by trusted shopping sites that proved to be reliable and affordable, such as Souq of Amazon and Noon.com. According to the Holiday Marketing Guide by MoEngage and AppFollow, 76% of UAE holiday shoppers during 2019 made their purchases online while they preferred to pick it up in-store, which means that this figure is only expected to be significantly higher this year.
According to the same study, 48% of shoppers' decisions were influenced by Ads they have seen on Instagram, making the image-sharing social media network the strongest ad platform in the MENA region. The report adds that "a Bain prediction expects the e-commerce industry in the region to be worth $28.5 billion by 2022."
While experts' expectations of the 2020 holiday season have been quite positive, they still point at changing trends when it comes to consumer behaviors by the end of an extremely turbulent year.
Besides the expected rise in reliance on online shopping sites and apps, consumers are expected to lean more towards practical and useful purchases, in addition to being more focused on value packages and deals, so they get the most benefits for the least cost. This change goes in line with the financial uncertainty suffered from all across the world, as millions of people continue to be afraid of losing their jobs.
Additionally, more budget-conscious consumers of 2020 are expected to have more planned shopping experiences than they ever did. This attitude will be greatly supported by online shopping apps that provide shoppers with a variety of options that can help them control their impulsive-buyer instincts.
Have you been shopping for Christmas? What changes have you noticed this season as opposed to those of the last few years?
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