h3o MATE has been much more actively developed than XFCE for starters. By the time we added MATE to the repos in 2016, XFCE had just started their initial port from GTK2 to GTK3. It wasn't until 2019 that they released 4.14. That's 4 years between 4.14 and 4.12 (4.13 was skipped). In that same time period, MATE had 8 releases. This might not seem like a big deal to some people, but for anyone who has had to deal with GNOME stack upgrades, something will break almost every time. MATE is very quick to fix these things and offers proper patch releases to address compatibility issues and bugs between releases.
I know some people get really hung-up on resource usage with DEs, which is a fair point on low resource machines. Nowadays, XFCE and MATE are very close in RAM usage. Both of them are light on the special effects and ship with their own set of applications (though MATE has more). CPU isn't really a factor with any of our supported DEs.
As a former XFCE user of many years, I can say that MATE is much closer to GNOME 2, which I happen to think is a good thing! The applications are all well written and fairly uniform from a UI standpoint. Not to mention that MATE has a few more applications that XFCE. This helps it integrate a lot better and adds to the visual consistency, by not having to supplement with additional applications from outside of the DE.
Couple all of this with the excellent support we have gotten from the MATE developers and I can honestly say MATE was the best choice in hindsight.