Press Release

66% UAE Consumers Already Holiday Shopping to Avoid the Supply Chain Grinch

New Oracle survey finds UAE consumers on edge over high prices, out-of-stock products, and delivery delays

More shoppers in the UAE turning to gift cards this year

Dubai, United Arab EmiratesNovember 12, 2021
retail survey

As if a pandemic weren’t enough, a new Oracle Retail consumer research study that shoppers are worried that supply chain and delivery delays will wreak havoc on the holidays. In response, 66% of UAE shoppers have already started holiday shopping or plan to shop earlier than usual. Of the respondents, 26% are even willing to pay more to ensure faster or guaranteed delivery, and 30% plan to order more gifts in case some are delayed or canceled. Those numbers jump to 28% and 32%, respectively, for Gen Z*. Others are taking an easier path, with 36% of people in the UAE (especially Millennials at 41%) noting they will buy more gift cards this year.

“As we see in the news, the supply chain challenges are a global reality. Regardless, consumers will still measure retailers on their ability to deliver on their wish lists this holiday season,” said Mike Webster, senior vice president, and general manager, Oracle Retail. “Accountability will be the name of the game. Retailers must have clear visibility into their inventory, a realistic timeline for the fulfillment, and a plan to communicate clearly throughout the order and delivery processes. Through transparency and execution, retailers can earn trust with their customers and build the potential for future loyalty.”

The survey polled 5,728 global consumers, including 526 in the UAE, in September 2021. The Untold Insights survey asked consumers about their pandemic shopping habits and plans for holiday shopping.

Supply chain woes

Gift givers in the UAE are worried they will be left holding an empty box as products may not be available or will take too long to arrive:

  • 31% of UAE respondents are anxious that the products they want will be more expensive due to the scarcity
  • 28% are worried desired products won’t be available
  • 26% consumers in the UAE are fretting that friends and family will be disappointed as they don’t get the gift they want
  • 21% are concerned that favorite holiday treats, like pumpkin spice lattes, won’t be available

Santa’s sleigh on delay

66% of UAE respondents will have gifts delivered to their home (up from 58% in 2020), but many (43%) are worried shipping times won’t meet their expectations and will be late (43%) – if they arrive at all (30%). To ease their concerns, 70% of respondents say granular tracking of delivery status is very important.

  • 49% of respondents say fast delivery determines whom they order from. 13% of consumers expect same-day delivery, 50% 1–2-day delivery, and 27% 3–5-day delivery.
  • 48% of people say they will be outraged if shipments are delayed
  • 43% worry gifts will arrive later than anticipated
  • 30% are concerned gifts won’t arrive at all

Adding insult to injury, even if the package finally gets to its destination, 25% of people fear porch pirates may steal it!

In-stock or out of luck

Despite the challenges, being able to get their hands on the products they want will be a critical factor in how UAE shoppers judge retailers this season:

  • 37% agree that out of stock items constitute a bad shopping experience
  • 41% say they are attracted to brands/companies based on product availability
  • 22% won’t wait for a retailer to restock before they go somewhere else

Despite the lure of low prices, many consumers are not willing to wait for store holidays to get what they need. Just 49% of UAE shoppers said they would participate in Amazon Prime Day and 44% would shop White Friday sales. A smaller number (15%) say they will take part in Cyber Monday events.

Buy your parents a gift card

When asked what gifts they plan to buy more of this year, gift cards emerged as the top contender:

  • 36% of UAE shoppers plan to buy more gift cards (11% of Boomers and 12% of women said that is the gift they would also most like to receive)
  • 36% plan to buy more fashion apparel
  • 37% more footwear
  • 38% more beauty products

Getting real on returns

They may tell you they love the gift, but a good portion of UAE Millennials are really planning to return it:

  • 54% of people plan to make some gift returns (60% for Millennials)
  • 29% plan to return half to all their gifts (35% for Millennials)
  • 58% of Gen Z shoppers will return at least some gifts, while 47% of Boomers have no plans to return their gifts
  • Women (52%) are less likely than men (58%) to make at least some returns.

Delta not denting holiday shopping

Consumers seem less concerned about the pandemic, with more shoppers opting to buy in-store this year:

  • 14% of UAE consumers plan to shop mostly in-store, up from 12% in 2020; 53% are planning both in-store shopping and online shopping, up from 51% last year
  • 76% feel comfortable shopping in an outdoor setting, while 72% feel comfortable shopping at an indoor mall
  • When asked what makes them feel most comfortable about going out to shop, 25% said mask mandates; 19% vaccination proof for guests; 15% social distancing

To learn more about how Oracle Retail is helping its customers have a happy holiday season, visit:

*Gen Z (18-24); Millennials (25-39); Gen X (40-54); Boomers (55+)

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About Oracle Retail

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