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E-commerce surge: UAE consumers spend $412mln on food, beverage online

February 23, 2021
finance & economy

Online spending accelerates in UAE, spurred by shift in consumer behaviou

Online spending on food and beverage (F&B) in the UAE surged by 255 percent in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic changed shopping behaviours, according to a new analysis.

The market saw online sales hit $412 million in 2020 and is expected to reach $619 million by 2025, with a compound annual growth (CAGR) of 8.5 percent, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce said in a report released on Monday.

Since the onset of the pandemic last year, merchants have seen an unprecedented increase in online spending. The increase has been fuelled by rising demand for home deliveries from consumers who avoid shopping in crowded malls and supermarkets.

“The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a more digital world and triggered changes in online shopping behaviours that are likely to have lasting effects,” according to a report posted on the website of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The report said that more than half of consumers surveyed last year said that they now shop online more frequently and rely on the internet more for digital entertainment, news and health-related information.

UAE figures

Data shared by Dubai Chamber also showed that the UAE recorded a 6 percent growth in sales of fresh food products last year, which reached $7.9 billion.

Sales of canned food products also went up by four percent.

As to where the UAE gets its supplies from, India emerged as the top source, with food products from the Asian state accounting for 19 percent of all food imports.

New Zealand came second, accounting for 13 percent, followed by Pakistan (9 percent), and United States, Egypt and Canada (4 percent).

Legumes appeared to be the most in demand in the UAE, as they accounted for about 17 percent of the total food products imported by Dubai, followed by powdered milk (14 percent), rice (13 percent), sugar (9 percent), onions (7 percent) and potatoes (5 percent).


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