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Over 50% of UAE consumers to go cashless by 2024 – Visa logo 4 days ago Neesha Salian
VISA study © Motivate Publishing VISA study

Visa’s newly-released Back to Business Global Study – 2022 SMB Outlook has revealed that 94 per cent of consumers in the UAE will continue to use digital payment as much as, or more than, in 2021.

Also, more than half of UAE consumers (52 per cent vs 41 per cent globally) plan to go cashless by 2024, with nearly all (99 per cent) consumers seeing benefits of a cashless society.

Moreover, 96 per cent of small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) surveyed in the UAE (vs 74 per cent globally) said accepting new forms of payments is fundamental to their growth.

“Payments are no longer about simply completing a sale. It’s about creating a simple and secure experience that reflects one’s brand across channels and provides utility to both the business and its customer,” said Shahebaz Khan, Visa’s general manager for the UAE, Bahrain and Oman. “The digital capabilities that small businesses built up during the pandemic – from contactless to e-commerce – helped them pivot and survive and by continuing to build on that foundation, they can now find new growth and thrive.”

According to this year’s study, which surveyed small business owners and consumers in nine markets – Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Russia, Singapore, UAE and the US – the consensus outlook for 2022 is one of optimism and intent to digitise even more.

Ninety-three percent of SMBs said they are optimistic about the future of their businesses, up by 5 per cent compared to the previous study.

A majority of small businesses in the UAE (71 per cent vs 59 per cent globally) said they already are, or plan to be, cashless in the next two years.

All small business owners surveyed in the UAE (100 per cent vs 82 per cent globally) said they plan to accept some form of digital payments in 2022, including crypto, with 35 per cent (vs 24 per cent globally) indicating a willingness to accept currencies such as Bitcoin.

Of small businesses with an online presence, nearly all those surveyed in the UAE (99 per cent) attributed their survival through the pandemic to e-commerce, which accounted for an average of 58 per cent of revenue (over the last three months).

Over two-thirds of UAE consumers (68 per cent vs 41 per cent globally) saying they have abandoned a purchase because digital payments were not accepted, SMBs are wise to continue to grow digital payment acceptance.

Due to ongoing supply chain issues, 69 per cent of UAE consumers (compared to 59 per cent globally) are willing to buy internationally.

The most important factor cited to help them feel more comfortable with international commerce is positive customer reviews (55 per cent). This aligns to 86 per cent of SMBs (compared to 50 per cent globally) that plan to increase cross-border sales in 2022. However, a majority (96 per cent) of UAE’s SMBs find it challenging to accept and process cross-border payments, demonstrating demand for faster, seamless, and secure cross-border payment solutions.

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