As the world enters the third calendar year of the COVID-19 pandemic, small and micro businesses (SMBs) around the world are truly back in business. new Visa A research study released today titled “Visa Back to Business Global Study – 2022 SMB Outlook” found that 94% of consumers in the UAE said they would continue to use digital payment as much or more in 2021.
Moreover, 96% of surveyed SMEs in the UAE (versus 74% globally) said accepting new forms of payments is key to their growth, indicating that digital payments are no longer about pivoting and staying, but rather Rather, finding growth in new digital realities.
Payments are no longer simply about completing a sale. It’s about creating a simple and secure experience that reflects an individual’s brand across channels and delivers a benefit to both the business and its customers,” Shahbaz Khan, General Manager of Visa for the UAE, Bahrain and Oman. “The digital capabilities that small businesses have developed during the pandemic – from offline to e-commerce – have helped them pivot and survive and by continuing to build on that foundation they can now find and thrive on new growth.”
According to this year’s study, which surveyed small business owners and consumers in nine markets—Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Russia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States—the consensus forecast for 2022 is both optimistic and intent on digitization. Furthermore:
The way forward in 2022 for SMEs in the UAE
Signs of optimism and confidence in 2022: 93 percent of SMEs said they are optimistic about the future of their business, an increase of 5% since the 2021 Global Return to Business Visa study.
Accelerating towards a cashless future: The majority of small businesses in the UAE (71% vs. 59% globally) say they are already or plan to be cashless in the next two years. More than half of consumers in the UAE (52% vs. 41% globally) plan to be cashless by 2024 and almost all consumers (99%) see the benefits of a cashless society.
SMEs embracing digital payments – even, encryption: All small business owners surveyed in the UAE (100% vs 82% globally) said they plan to accept some form of digital payments in 2022, including crypto, with 35% (versus 24% globally) indicates a willingness to accept currencies such as Bitcoin.
E-commerce-Supported Businesses: Among the small businesses with an online presence, almost all businesses in the UAE (99%) have attributed their survival during the pandemic to e-commerce, which accounts for an average of 58% of revenue1.
Consumers in the UAE are setting the tone in 2022
Abandoned shopping carts in real life (IRL): More than two-thirds of consumers in the UAE (68% vs 41% globally) say they have given up on buying due to not accepting digital payments, and it is wise for SMEs to continue to grow in digital payment Acceptance.
Consumers are considering global market adoption: Due to ongoing supply chain issues, 69% of UAE consumers (compared to 59% globally) want to buy internationally. The most important factor cited to help them feel more comfortable with international trade is positive customer reviews (55%). This corresponds to 86% of SMEs (compared to 50% globally) that plan to increase cross-border sales in 2022. However, the majority (96%) of SMEs in the UAE find it difficult to accept and process cross-border payments, Demonstrating the demand for faster, seamless, and secure cross-border payment solutions like Visa Direct.
Global Digital Commerce Differences
The global non-cash spectrum: Only 1% of small businesses in the UAE expect their businesses to continue to accept cash compared to 39% of Canada and 31% of US SME owners say they will continue to accept cash.
Small business enthusiasm: Consumers in the UAE (60%), Brazil (52%) and the US (39%) plan to support small businesses more in the coming year.
More information about programs that Visa makes available to small and micro businesses can be found on the Visa Small Business Hub and the Visa Small Business COVID-19 Support Site.