Financial sector must invest in technology or risk being left behind; report
The report found that 62% of people in the UAE and 39% in KSA bought something online in the last month, the majority through mobile devices
Research from Hootsuite and We Are Social highlighted that the financial services are investing in technology and innovation as it is now essential.
The findings showed that consumers in the Middle East now demand online solutions they can access through their mobile phone on social media platforms, plus the financial sector risks being left behind if it fails to invest in technology.
The social media giants revealed that of the 246 million people living in the Middle East, 60% use the Internet, 34% are active on social media and 127% have mobile phone subscriptions. E-commerce is also gaining traction with 62% of people having bought something online in the last month and 47% via their mobile phone in the same time frame. In KSA 39% of people have made online purchases, an increase of 57% from last year and 33% of people have bought using their mobiles.
Chris Fountain, managing director of Turret Media, organisers of the MEFTECH 2017, said: "The rise in digital use in the Middle East shouldn't surprise anyone, but I think most people would be surprised at just how sharply it's rising and the figures on mobile use in the GCC are quite incredible.
"What will be of particular interest to the financial sector and more specifically to those involved in financial technology is the huge rise in e-commerce. These figures highlight just how important it is that banks and other financial institutions are investing in the right technology that allows their customers and potential customers to carry out their transactions when and where they want. The firms who don't adapt and invest risk being left behind."
The report also revealed interesting figures from the more affluent nations in the GCC with 99% of people in the UAE using the Internet, 70% in KSA and 93% in Bahrain. Qatar and UAE have the highest social media penetration of any country in the world at 99%, while KSA has seen the highest growth in penetration with a 73% rise resulting in 59% of the Saudi population using social channels.
Qatar also had the highest percentage of any population using social media through mobile devices (95%), while UAE was second with (88%) and KSA was just under half the population (49%).