Retail Trends

Consumers Sentiment for Middle East Shopping Malls Remains Strong

2 min read

Middle Eastern consumers are optimistic about the economic recovery as the quarantines are relaxed in the region, according to the latest consumer sentiment survey published by consulting firm McKinsey.

In fact, three quarters of Middle Eastern consumers say their intent to go to malls after the crisis has passed has stayed the same or has even increased since before the crisis. This contrasts markedly with the significant drop in intention to visit malls that McKinsey found in the US and Europe.

Consumers in the Middle East region have embraced contactless fulfillment options like BOPIS, curbside pickup, self-checkout, and scan & go technologies, accelerating the shift towards omnichannel retail and  demonstrating that these capabilities are now essential in helping retailers encourage foot traffic in physical stores even when the health crisis has passed.


In Qatar, as in other Middle Eastern countries, eCommerce has received a big boost during the crisis, with  online shopping for basics and non-basics up 79 and 63 percent, respectively. In addition, the use of self-checkout and scan & go technologies increased by 42 percent, while the use of BOPIS and curbside pickup increased by 58 and 44 percent, respectively – and at least a third of consumers indicated they intend to continue using them in the future.


Lavish shopping malls are one of the defining characteristics of shopping in the UAE, so it is interesting to note that the intent to visit shopping malls has only dropped by 11 percent while the intent to shop in physical stores has remained the same.

Meanwhile, shopping online has increased by a third in the UAE, and over half of consumers plan on continuing after the crisis has passed. The use of BOPIS has increased by 31 percent, making it even more essential for retailers in the shopping hotspots of the UAE to strengthen their omnichannel capabilities if they want to keep customers and draw them to their stores.

Saudi Arabia

In addition to the increasing intent for spending on groceries and household supplies that is common to all countries, the McKinsey survey shows that Saudis also intend to increase their spending on personal care products by 17 percent, making it a bright prospect for health and beauty retailers.

A quarter of Saudi shoppers said they intend to increase their visits to shopping malls, so that the overall visits will have decreased only by 2 percent. However, there was a 2 percent increase in intent to shop in physical stores for non-grocery items, showing reasonable confidence in shopping at physical locations after the crisis has passed.

Online shopping has increased by about a third, with two thirds planning on shopping online in the future. In addition, the use of self-checkout has also increased by 23 percent and use of BOPIS has also increased by 39 percent, showing a willingness to visit the store for the fulfillment of their online order.

Read more about  shopping trends in the Middle East in our earlier blog post.