Smart phone ownership in the UAE has outstripped the global average by more than thirty percentage points, according to a recent study by TNS, one of the world’s largest custom market research organization.
The annual TNS Mobile Life Study shows that 78 per cent of UAE residents own a smart phone compared to the global average of 42 per cent, at the same time indicating that nearly 40 per cent of consumers in the Emirates either own, or are looking to own, a tablet.
Findings place mobile communications as integral to the UAE lifestyle, saying it remains the most popular device for instant messaging at 46 per cent, with playing games and accessing social networks at 44 per cent and 34 per cent respectively.
The study goes on to reveal that at 19 per cent, tablet ownership in the UAE is also considerably higher than the global average hovering at 12 per cent. TNS’ regional chief executive officer, Steve Hamilton-Clarke noted that there has been a sharp increase in tablet sales in the UAE in the past 12 months.
“There is a comfortable dance going on. As organizations and governments embrace mobile apps and m-commerce technology, consumers embrace a smartphone. In fact, around half of the world’s mobile owners are ready to use their phone to make purchases and manage money, and here lies the opportunity for UAE businesses across the board,” he said.
He noted that usage share, or time spent on a device, is expected to grow for tablets at the expense of smartphones and laptops suggesting that tablet usage is considered more a fun, relaxing activity likely driven by its ease and convenient size in comparison to a PC (personal computer). Indeed, research shows that in the UAE, 67 per cent use their tablet in the evenings, closely followed by ‘in bed before sleeping’, ‘when I go on holiday’, and ‘while watching TV’.
Mobile’s effect on retail
“Mobile affords unparalleled growth opportunities and we urge marketers to fast appreciate this or face being left behind. Marketers need to embrace this technology, and must do so quickly making sure to tailor services to category and channel dynamics,” said Hamilton-Clark.
“Looking at hypermarkets as an example, shoppers see value in mobile apps that provide services such as bulk-buy shopping lists and coupons with promotions on regular purchases, while convenience stores would more likely benefit from apps on quick-to-find products and mobile wallet services.”
Hamilton-Clark added that mobile services that can be deployed swiftly to meet a (new) demand or need, save time at the shelf, as well as carry shopper benefits, will also help fuel category growth, warning that on the flip side mobile services that interrupt shoppers will have the opposite effect.
“Marketers should look to go beyond the average shopping experience and use mobile to deliver an improved experience that inspires, while saving time and money,” Hamilton-Clark concluded.