Bargain reports and analytics

Online shopping in the United Arab Emirates

PicodiMarch 15, 2019

Interesting facts about the shopping habits of Emirati internet users

Although there is no denying that online shopping has brought much convenience to people’s lives, the issue poses a great challenge for retailers as there is a number of points to consider. What kind of devices do Emiratis use to shop online? How much money do they spend? How does the shopping activity change across the year? Is online shopping more popular among men or women? To look for answers, analysed last year’s data and presented the results in this report.

Smartphones far behind

Although mobile commerce is booming globally, it turns out Emiratis still prefer desktops over smartphones. According to our internal data, only 1 out of 3 transactions was made with the use of a mobile device last year.

What is more, Emiratis tend to spend less when using smartphones. When they did shopping with the use of a phone, the average order value was only 687 AED. It’s about 163 AED less than when using desktops (850 AED) and 141 AED when using tablets (828 AED). iOS users spend more than Android users — 763 AED vs 681 AED on average.

The important question is who shops online more — men or women? Our data shows that there were more purchases made by Emirati men than those made by women, 59% and 41% respectively.

Unsurprisingly, it’s the young generation that prefers online shopping. More than half of all online shoppers (58%) are people between the ages of 25 and 34. They’re followed by people aged 35-44 (20%) and 18-24% (12%). The remaining 10% are consumers who are over 45 years old.

Shopping habits of Emirati online users

Busy end of the year

According to our research, the average order value of an Emirati shopper is the highest in May (871 AED), followed by February and April (819 and 814 AED accordingly).

If you look at the shopping activity, it turns out November has the highest number of transactions — 13% of all the transactions made during the year. The second busiest month when it comes to the number of transactions was June (12%), followed by December (10%). The lowest number of transactions was noted in January (3.8%) with the average order value amounting to 701 AED.

If we look at the activity of Emirati consumers across the week, it turns out that mobile users are the most active at the beginning of the week — 18% of all purchases are made on Sunday. On the other hand, shopping on computers is preferred during the weekend — Friday (19%) and Saturday (17%). Emiratis definitely prefer to shop in the evenings: the peak of sales occurs between 18:00 and 24:00.

The most popular categories for online shopping among Emiratis were: food on delivery, travel, clothing, grocery and electronics.

Online shoppers around the world

How people around the world shop online?

We analysed data from 35 countries and compared the devices people use to shop online and the average order value. The United Arab Emirates, with only 30% of their orders made on mobile devices, is among the countries where desktop shopping takes the lead.

Peru tops the ranking with 76% of online purchases made with the use of smartphones. Close behind are Nigeria and Thailand (62% and 56%). Among countries that fall behind the UAE were Hong Kong and Australia with 23% and 22% respectively.

However, when it comes to the average order value, Emiratis with their $218 (801 AED) top the ranking — the world’s average is US$79. It looks like Hungarians and Turks don’t like to spend a lot in one go. They are at the bottom of the ranking with US$32 and US$38 respectively.

Online shopping in numbers:

  • 1 out of 3 transactions was made on a mobile device last year,
  • there were more purchases made by Emirati men than by women (59% and 41%),
  • more than half of all online shoppers (58%) are people between the ages of 25 and 34,
  • the average order value in the UAE is the highest in May (871 AED),
  • the highest number of transactions was noted in November — 13.4% of all annual transactions,
  • food delivery, travel and clothing are the top 3 categories for online shopping

Amazon, iHerb, Farfetch, Sharf DG and ACE are the most popular marketplaces in the UAE, however, not many users know that shopping in those places can be made even better with cashback. All you have to do is activate it in Picodi before each purchase.


This report uses the internal data of a global e-commerce platform for 2018. For currency conversion, we used the average exchange rate for March 2019.

Public Use

Are you willing to share the information and infographics about shopping online in the United Arab Emirates with your readers? Feel free to use all the data and infographics presented in this report for both commercial and non-commercial purposes as long as you indicate the author of the research ( with a link to this subpage.