KHALEEJ TIMES, Thursday, Jan 13, 2022 | Jamada Al-Aakhirah 10, 1443
52% of UAE consumers plan to go cashless by 2024
More than half of consumers in the UAE (52 per cent), compared to 41 per
cent globally, plan to be cashless by 2024 and nearly all (99 per cent)
consumers see benefits of a cashless society, findings of a new study by Visa
The 6th edition of Back to Business Global Study – 2022 by Visa also revealed
that 94 per cent of consumers in the UAE will continue to use digital payment as
much as, or more than, in 2021.
Moreover, 96 per cent of small and micro businesses (SMBs) surveyed in the UAE
(vs. 74 per cent globally) said accepting new forms of payments is fundamental
to their growth, signaling that digital payments are no longer about pivoting
and surviving, but rather finding growth in new digital realities.
A majority of SMBs in UAE (71 per cent vs. 59 per cent globally) already are, or
plan to be cashless by 2024 to meet their customers’ expectations while 99 per
cent of SMBs said they attributed pandemic survival to selling online, with more
than half (58 per cent) of their revenue now stemming from eCommerce.
To fuel growth in 2022, SMBs will look towards digital, including crypto-based
payments and cross-border commerce, according to the study.
“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 eCommerce – helped them pivot and survive and by continuing
to build on that foundation, they can now find new growth and thrive.”
The study, which surveyed small business owners and consumers in nine markets -
Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Russia, Singapore, the UAE and
United State, said the consensus outlook for 2022 is one of optimism and intent
to digitize even more. Consumers in the UAE (60 per cent), Brazil (52 per cent)
and the US (39 per cent) also intend to support small businesses even more in
the year ahead.
Ninety-three per cent of SMBs said they are optimistic about the future of their
businesses, up by 5.0 per cent since the 2021 Visa Back to Business global
The study found that 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 in the UAE (99 per cent)
attributed their survival through the pandemic to eCommerce, which accounted for
an average of 58 per cent of revenue.
Over two-thirds of UAE consumers (68 per cent vs. 41 per cent globally) said
they have abandoned a purchase because digital payments were not accepted.
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,” said the study report. However, a
majority (96 per cent) of UAE SMBs finds it challenging to accept and process
cross-border payments, demonstrating demand for faster, seamless, and secure
cross-border payment solutions like Visa Direct.
Only one per cent of small businesses in the UAE expect their business will
continue to accept cash compared to 39 per cent of Canadian and 31 per cent of
US SMB owners saying they will continue to accept cash.