MENA shoppers prefer VISA cards
A visible surge has been recorded in the demand for Visa debit, credit, and prepaid cards off-late as shoppers across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region opted for electronic payment method on the occasions of Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr this year.
According to a recent Visa spending report for 2014, the buyers in the MENA region spent 3.98 billion U.S. dollars on Visa debit, credit and prepaid cards during the holy month of Ramadan and the following Eid-ul-Fitr festival. The figure is 16 percent more when compared with 3.43 billion U.S. dollars spent during the same occasions last year in the MENA region.
The top five categories for Visa spending during the 2014 Ramadan and Eid were Grocery Stores (9%), Financial Institutions/Auto Cash (21%), Jewelry Stores (21%), Family Clothing Stores (13%), and Government Services (5%).
The report further revealed that the shoppers spent substantially at the supermarkets located in the United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait, a cumulative nine percent increase as against 2013 figures.
Spending through electronic means at the jewelry stores shot up by 21 percent on year-on-year comparison across the region.
The trend spells a win-win scenario for both retailers and customers as the ongoing push by the Middle Eastern governments to electronify commerce has led to financial institutions registering a growth of 10 percent and 6 percent respectively YoY in transactions.
The only category with negative growth regarding volumes despite of high growth rates among the top 10 categories was Building Supply Stores as its spend volumes shrank by 12 percent thereby suggesting DIY projects were not on the shoppers’ priority list during Ramadan.
The trend also depicted a visible Visa card payments transition in the region from cash-based transactions in the past to electronic payments off-late.
An increased number of entities and local businesses have already accepted the change and started offering electronic payments options to their customers which paints a prosperous picture for the future of electronic payments in the MENA region.