UAE has the highest mobile penetration followed by KSA
According to a recent study conducted by Google, mobile usage has significantly increased in popularity throughout the Middle East, with the UAE posting the highest penetration in the region at 74%.
The study also showed that consumers are becoming increasingly reliant upon their mobile devices, with 56% of those surveyed stating that they never leave home without their device and that they access the Internet with it daily. Even the government and public sectors are trying to capitalize on this trend, with the Dubai government recently introducing its services for mobile users around the clock.
When it comes to e-commerce, 60% of UAE mobile users searched for products and services daily. Of this group, 49% sought travel-related information with 38% having made a purchase or booking. Mobile app usage is now ubiquitous, with 23 apps downloaded on average per month per user. In the KSA, smart phone penetration is only slightly lower at 73% but consumers here seem to have a stronger appetite for travel with 52% searching for related content.
Amer Al Halabi, Regional Manager of MENA for HotelsCombined, said: “Mobile has clearly created a new business opportunity in hotel booking and it’s an ideal channel through which to sell rooms that otherwise would remain unoccupied. Mobile devices are an essential medium to engage customers on the move.”
HotelsCombined’s range of smartphone and tablet apps has been available to MENA consumers for over two years and remains the only hotel price comparison apps providing a fully-localised Arabic user interface. The apps, which are available in 39 languages, also cater to the expat communities of MENA by providing hotel rates in all major currencies.
“Users are genuinely surprised to find that the same hotel room is being offered at completely different rates on different sites. As a hotel price comparison service, we take away the aggravation of finding the best deal by comparing all the main travel sites within one app. These price options, supported by in-depth hotel content, provide users with all the information they need to make their booking. We also find great interest for our mobile solutions from business partners, particularly our while label model,” Halabi further added.