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What is the UAE’s cash-savvy online shopping community discovering now?

As the cost of living in the Emirates escalates, residents are increasingly turning to e-commerce to buy and sell used goods in a bid to help them manage their money

Second-hand doesn’t equate to second-best, as the UAE’s cash-savvy online shopping community is discovering. Leading Dubai-based e-commerce site EZHeights.com is reporting a dramatic increase in the number of bargain hunters seeking to make their dirhams go that bit further in the face of a steep rise in the cost of modern-day living in the Emirates.

High rents and extortionate school fees along with increasing levels of consumer debt in the form of credit cards, personal loans and mortgages are prompting a growing number of the UAE’s expat community to re-think their lifestyle spending patterns and rein in their outgoings. One way they’re achieving this is by opting to buy goods second-hand – as well make a little bit back by selling some of their own unwanted items – via the popular EZHeights.com site.    

“While the online community of second-hand buyers and sellers is well established in the likes of the UK and the US, for example, it’s still in its infancy here in the UAE where tax-free salaries mean expats may feel they can be more extravagant with their spending,” says Adham Saleh, Managing Director of EZHeights.com

“However in the last few months we’ve seen a noticeable surge in the number of locally-based buyers who are using our popular classified section to purchase a wide variety of second-hand items – everything from cars, electronics, household appliances and toys to pre-loved designer name clothing and handbags. As the overall cost of living in the UAE continues to escalate, EZHeights.com provides a sophisticated forum for money-minded individuals to buy and sell online conveniently and securely,” continues Saleh.

And it’s not just cost-conscious consumers who are benefitting from the site’s classified section; bargain-hunting businesses are also profiting with small start-up firms in particular reaping the rewards of being able to source lower-priced, pre-used items such as office furniture and equipment.

“The advent of the introduction of VAT [Value Added Tax] across the GCC region by 1st January 2018 is yet another reason for locally-based consumers and businesses to embrace money-saving options such as by making second-hand purchases,” he added.    

The UAE continues to be at the vanguard of the MENA region’s e-commerce market and is currently valued at around US$2.5 billion (AED9.2 billion). Last year, market research by Euromonitor International identified the UAE as one of the top five emerging e-commerce markets* based on retail growth, online connectivity and consumer demand, with Internet penetration topping 90% of the country’s population. 

* Top 5 Emerging E-Commerce Markets in 2015, Euromonitor International, July 2015.

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