Data top-ups, apparel, groceries, banking and healthcare see highest surge of online activity
Nearly three out of four (73%) consumers in the Middle East and Africa shop more online than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study by Mastercard.
More than 70% of consumers said that they had ventured online for data top-ups, 63% for clothing, while over 52% saying they had purchased groceries online.
With the risk of infection remaining a top concern, shoppers are rapidly moving from cash and opting for contact-free and digital payment experiences for a more safe, secure and cashless avenue.
As e-commerce increasingly becomes a part of everyday life, consumers are moving other aspects of their financial management to digital, with 66% of respondents having started banking online, and 56% also managing their healthcare needs in the virtual world.
“Consumers in Qatar today are enjoying the benefits and convenience of online shopping and are seeking virtual experiences unlike ever before. This in turn makes cybersecurity all the more important,” said Nadia Ghissassi, Mastercard country manager.
The remarks come as Qatar’s authorities continue to work relentlessly to protect and stabilise the country’s economy amid the COVID-19 crisis, according to the latest Qatar Chamber (QC) report.
To ensure that the economy is protected, QC is working on ensuring that necessary goods and services are provided to the public at reasonable prices, in addition to removing all obstacles facing producers and encouraging them to increase production.
Income levels in Qatar have remained among the highest in the world despite a sharp COVID-19-induced decline in economic activity and low energy prices.
Despite the current slump, analysts believe that Qatar’s GDP could potentially increase to $208bn in 2024 from $162bn this year, an increase of almost 30% over four years.
Two other economic indicators, the rate of inflation and that of unemployment, also point to a healthy and growing economy over the next few years.
Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) along with authorities have been placing strict measures in curbing the spread of the coronavirus since the beginning of the outbreak.
Although the country did have the highest infections rate per capita, it has maintained the world’s lowest mortality rate.
Moreover, more than one million people have been tested for the potentially lethal virus in Qatar since the global pandemic struck the Gulf state.
Qatar currently has 2,708 active Covid-19 cases and has recorded more than134698 recoveries.
A total of 236 have died of the infection, according to the latest health ministry figures.