Latest Internet Search Trends Among UAE Residents Point To A New, Post COVID-19 Reality

An increased frequency in searches for remote working guidelines, e-grocery shopping, and staycations is among the key findings of a recent analysis by Dubai Chamber.
Latest Internet Search Trends Among UAE Residents Point To A New, Post COVID-19 Reality
Image credit: Dubai Chamber

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Searches for “online grocery”, “grocery delivery”, and "online courses" have dominated recent internet search trends of UAE residents, according to a study conducted by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The analysis, which is based on Google Trends data, showed that searches in the e-grocery category, including “online grocery” and “grocery delivery”, peaked during the lockdown period in April before dropping in May (Figure 1). Even in in the aftermath of the restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online grocery shopping has been found to be the norm for a large majority of UAE consumers as they continue to purchase from their preferred e-grocery providers through websites and apps.

Figure 1: Search frequency for the term “groceries” in UAE.
Source: Dubai Chamber, Google Trends (as of May 26)

This year’s credit card payment data from MasterCard confirms this ongoing trend, showing a 99% year-over-year growth in February, a 252% year-over-year growth in March, and 316% year-over-year growth in April.

The study also showed that searches for “online courses” peaked in April, before falling in May, as UAE residents sought to gain more knowledge over the lockdown period (Figure 2). The drop in search results is expected and has been interpreted as a consequence of consumers finding suitable courses and pursuing them over the following months.

Figure 2: Search frequency for the “online courses” topic in UAE
Source: Dubai Chamber, Google Trends (as of May 26)

There was also a surge in frequency of online queries for “work from home in Dubai” and "telecommuting" before a gradual decline, owing to residents’ increased familiarity with remote working processes and rules (Figure 3). This shift to remote working has also driven a large number of online searches for furniture for home office workspaces.

“Staycation”, which refers to a holiday and/or leisure activities close to home, was another popular term searched for by UAE residents over the last two months. The suspension of international flights due to the ongoing pandemic crisis and the Eid holidays coinciding with summer months were among the key factors that led to this search trend.

Figure 3: Search frequency for the “telecommuting” topic in UAE
Source: Dubai Chamber, Google Trends (as of May 26)

The study ended with a reflection on how the above trends may soon become the new normal for many UAE residents, especially in the post-COVID-19 era.

Related: Dubai Chamber Explains COVID-19 Preventive Measures To Keep In Mind When Going Back To Workplaces

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