Consumers set to spend more online this Ramadan, driving adoption of digital payments across MENA


A new survey from looks at online spending intentions of consumers in UAE and KSA ahead of the Ramadan period

April 12, 2021, Dubai, UAE – New survey from—a leading global payment solution provider—suggests there will be an even greater surge in online shopping during the upcoming Ramadan period.

Going into the Holy month, consumers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia have noted a strong inclination towards online shopping.  95 per cent of those surveyed in these two countries say that they shop online, with 29 per cent doing so weekly or even daily. That is largely consistent with an earlier report from September 2020, indicating that consumers’ embrace of online shopping is more of a long-term behavior change rather than a temporary shift resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. In countries like Saudi Arabia, the frequency of online shopping overall seems to be increasing, with the percentage of consumers making online purchases either daily or weekly increasing from 20 per cent in November 2020 to 26 per cent today.  

Looking to the month ahead, approximately three-quarters of those surveyed (76 per cent) plan to purchase products and services online more frequently this Ramadan, or at least the same amount as last year. Meanwhile, a quarter (26 per cent) say that they will be shopping in-person less frequently for products and services. Merchants can expect certain demographic groups to drive more frequent online Ramadan purchases, particularly the most affluent consumers and those aged between 18-34 years of age.

Not only do people anticipate making more online purchases, but they also plan to purchase a wide variety of products and services more frequently this Ramadan compared to last year. The most popular category of products is expected to be groceries, with 60 per cent of respondents planning to purchase these online more frequently this Ramadan. That is followed by food delivery (50 per cent), clothing (44 per cent), and household products (39 per cent).

For such purchases, the most common form of payment for the majority of consumers (67 per cent) is card payments and digital wallets, breaking the mold of what has historically been a region dominated by cash payments. A behaviour change which has been accelerated by the global health pandemic as consumers shunned cash in favour of contactless and online purchases. In fact, one in three (37 per cent) say that they anticipate using cash-on-delivery less this Ramadan compared to last year. The survey further suggests that consumer preference for digital payments is higher during Ramadan than at other times of the year (59 per cent), comparing similar data from six months ago.  

Mohammad Ali Yusuf (Mo Ali Yusuf), MENAP Regional Manager at, said: “Many traditionally cash-centric countries in the Middle East are now converting to higher rates of digital payments. The pandemic has spurred a payments revolution of sorts, and it is not one that is going away. With more consumers now appreciating the convenience of online purchasing and payments, there is a clear opportunity for forward-thinking businesses to do what they do better by unlocking more value in every transaction. This is particularly important during a period like Ramadan when competition amongst merchants is high, and businesses need to provide the online shopping experience that consumers are looking for.”  

According to’s Connected Payments in MENAP report released in November 2020, nearly half of consumers in the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan (MENAP) region are likely to increase their online shopping this year compared to 2020. At the time, confirmed that between March and September 2020, it saw an 86 per cent growth in its own online payment volumes year on year within the region, and had processed approximately 400 million e-commerce transactions in the region between 2019 and 2020 alone.


This survey was commissioned by and conducted by YouGov, polling 1,000 consumers in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia during the period of March 23 – 28, 2021. Press contact: Lewis Jones, Communications - [email protected]

About empowers businesses to adapt, innovate, and thrive with the connected payments they deserve. The company’s easy-to-implement technology makes payments seamless. They provide the fastest, most reliable payments in more than 150 currencies, with in-country acquiring, world-class fraud filters and reporting, through one API. And they can accept all major international credit and debit cards, as well as popular local payment methods, including Fawry, Mada, QPay and more. Plus their strong local presence and deep understanding of the regional payments ecosystem, makes the market leader across the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan. Since 2019, the powerful payments platform has processed more than 400 million eCommerce transactions in the region. launched in 2012 and now has a team of 1000 people across 18 offices worldwide, offering local expertise where it’s needed.

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