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Despite the opulent wealth in many of the Gulf countries, payment methods in the Arab world are still catching up to what they are in many western countries. Many Middle Eastern countries have typically been cash-based societies and the use of credit cards has been a relatively new thing in the region. To add to this laws about interest in the Quran and the Hadith have made it hard for many interest-based payment methods to take hold in the region because they are considered to be against the practices of Islam. In this article I will outline some of the payment methods that are available in the region.
Cash on delivery is probably the most popular payment method in the region. Because of the lack of credit cards in the region cash on delivery has gained popularity as an online payment method among locals. Not only is cash on delivery the payment method with the smallest barrier to entry. Cash on delivery is also a payment method that allows consumers to see the products they buy online before they actually pay for them. Due to this fact many online retailers in the region say that cash on delivery has a return rate much much higher than any other payment methods. We have seen statistics that say anywhere from 12 to 13 times the number of returns happen with cash on delivery when compared to credit cards. Consumers receive the package open it and often times say they don’t want it and return it immediately. As you can imagine this can be very costly for the e-commerce merchant as they have to pay the delivery cost without receiving any type of reimbursement. This issue has made it so some retailers in the region have chosen not to use cash on delivery, especially when the e-commerce merchant is just getting started.
The Arab consumer is unique and needs to be treated differently than consumers in other parts of the world. Below we will examine some of the consumer behavior, traits, characteristics and demographics of a Middle Eastern Arab consumer that set them apart from consumers in other parts of the world. It should be noted that many of these points are broad generalizations with the intent to help inform businesses looking to operate in the region on how they can better reach their target audience. Since these are broad generalizations about Arab consumers there will always be exceptions to these traits that defy the norm.
If you’re looking to take your marketing in the Arab world to the next level this post will provide and in-depth look into seasonal marketing opportunities in the Arab world. Feel free to use this post to help you plan out your seasonal promotions to Arab consumers in countries across the in Middle East.
Visually-led social networks have grown exponentially in the Middle Eastern region, with Snapchat at the forefront of the social media trend. According to Snapchat user data, the mobile app currently has about 33 million users in the Middle East. Company growth in this region has far out-paced growth in many other countries.
Saudis are among the highest active daily users of Snapchat, with residents of Riyadh and Jeddah using the camera 40 times a day on average, and spending approximately 35 minutes a day surfing snaps. These figures are huge when compared to Snapchat’s global average of 25 times a day and half an hour of surfing, respectively. In fact, more than a third of Saudi respondents say they use Snapchat video tools, making it the highest market adoption of the app by any nation. Snapchat has even opened its first Middle Eastern office in Dubai, with rumors of a second office in soon to open in Riyadh. (more…)