Respondents reassert that sending money home to support family is their top priority after paying their rent
Expatriates in the UAE are more upbeat than their fellow workers in other Gulf nations about improved living standards with 61 per cent earning more than $1,361 per month, a survey has revealed.
The research by Ding, the largest international mobile top-up platform, shows that almost three-quarters of the survey respondents were employed full-time, and in addition to using their earnings to fund basic bills and utilities, their interest in leisure activities is also on the rise.
The Ding research, which allows for an interesting geographical comparison between the markets surveyed, looks at remittance habits, mobile payment preferences and mobile device usage of these international workers.
The survey found that expatriate community in the UAE wants to transact online with 58 per cent using their devices to make purchases twice per month. Groceries were most likely to be purchased followed by event tickets, at 38 per cent and 35 per cent respectively. When making payments, Apple Pay is the most used e-pay solution.
When asked what application the expats used most on a daily basis, in the UAE 73 per cent use WhatsApp the most frequently followed by Facebook (65 per cent) and Instagram (52 per cent). While online payment is growing, the majority still operate in cash only (57 per cent).
According to the survey, the UAE, the third-largest remittance sender in the world, sent $33 billion in 2018 alone. Another finding is that UAE’s international expat workers still prioritise the needs of their family back home, with 90 per cent ensuring they budget to send top-ups and remittances on a monthly basis. This is despite a reported slowing in international remittances by the UAE central bank recently.
Expatriate respondents have reasserted that sending money home to support family is their top priority after paying their rent. The survey also found that three quarters pay bills and almost two-thirds directly transfer funds on a monthly basis. Interestingly, the workers report that they are responsible for paying 75 per cent of the communications needs of family back home – be that phone and data.
While staying connected with family and friends is a top priority, 78 per cent of those surveyed feel they use their phones too much with 81 per cent reporting they browse the Internet daily for entertainment purposes.
Mark Roden, founder and chief executive of Ding, said as experts in the prepaid market the company strived to stay on top of market trends and provide customers in the UAE and around the world with the services they need and can count on.