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Nearly half of KSA consumers plan to prioritise apps and digital commerce in the future, SAS research finds

Only 17% will revert to the same balance of online/offline retail activity as before the pandemic

KSA – gulftech – Nearly half (48%) of KSA consumers will continue to shop, bank, and order online more than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research by SAS, the leader in analytics.

The vast majority (78%) say that their shopping habits have changed permanently as a result of the outbreak, and only 17 per cent of consumers in KSA expect to revert to the same balance of online and offline retail activity as before.

“Customer-facing organisations in Saudi Arabia need to distinguish between the customers that plan to continue using digital platforms, the ones that will move to a more offline experience, and the ones who are keen to return to the same balance as before the pandemic. They then need to plan marketing campaigns tailored to each group. To achieve this, organisations of all sizes can use cloud-based technologies such as analytics and AI to analyse the customer data they have and create actionable insights for each individual customer,” said Radoslaw Grabiec, Customer Intelligence Practice Head for CEMEA at SAS.

The findings of the survey show the extent to which consumer commerce has moved online in the last 18 months. The percentage of new digital users since the pandemic started stood at 27 per cent in the Middle East & Africa (MEA), the highest of any region surveyed. More than half (56%) are now considered digital users, also the highest of any region.

These digitally savvy consumers are shown to be intolerant of poor levels of service. The proportion of KSA consumers that would ditch a brand after just one or two poor experiences was 46 per cent, while 40 per cent say they would change provider or brand after 3-5 poor experiences. Effectively, 86 per cent of consumers in KSA will shift brand loyalty after one to five poor experiences.

For those brands and service providers that succeed in delighting customers, there are rewards to be reaped. Across the MEA region, 39 per cent of respondents say they expect to spend more once vaccines are rolled out. Only 10 per cent say they will spend less.

The good news is that brands appear to be on the right track. Exactly nine-tenths of respondents in the MEA region noted an improvement in the customer experience during the pandemic.

To help businesses provide a more tailored customer experience, customers are now more willing to provide personal data to companies. A third (33%) of all those surveyed said they are more likely to share personal data with businesses now than they were before the pandemic, compared to 20 per cent who are less likely to. A third of those people more likely to share their data specified that they would do this in return for an improved customer experience.

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