Dubai Chamber analysis highlights changing consumer behaviour in Covid-19 era in March-May 2020
Mita Srinivasan
10x Industry

Dubai Chamber analysis highlights changing consumer behaviour in Covid-19 era in March-May 2020

UAE residents sought out groceries, distance learning, office furniture and staycation options

Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has released numbers, based on Google Trends data, on the changing consumer behaviour during restrictions imposed to contain the Covid-19 outbreak in the UAE have led to significant changes in consumer behaviours in the country.

The study noted that online grocery shopping became the norm for many consumers in the UAE between March and May 2020. Searches in this category reached a peak during the lockdown period in April, before subsiding in May as consumers continued to purchase from their preferred e-grocery providers through websites and apps.

Recent data from MasterCard mirrors this pattern, as it shows that online card payments for groceries in UAE saw a 99 percent y-o-y growth in February, a 252 percent y-o-y growth in March, and 316 percent y-o-y growth in April. Popular search queries that registered the highest increase in search frequency include “online grocery”, and “grocery delivery”.

The findings also uncovered a trend of UAE residents searching for online courses as they looked to improve their skills and knowledge. Searches for “online courses” peaked in April 2020, before falling in May. This reduction is natural and may not be interpreted as a drop in interest, but rather a result of consumers finding suitable courses in April and pursuing them in May, thus leaving less room for more searches.

A sudden interest in telecommuting in March as a significant portion of businesses adopted work from home protocols. The number of searches for “work from home in Dubai” surged before gradually declining once users became more familiar with remote working processes and tools. The shift to flexible working is one of the main factors driving a higher frequency of online searches for furniture as a need for home office workspaces emerged among residents.

“Staycation”, referring to a holiday and leisure activities close to home, was another popular term plugged into search engines over the last few months. The suspension of international due to measures implemented to contain the ongoing pandemic and the Eid holidays coinciding with summer months were among the key factors fuelling this trend.

The above-mentioned trends may become the “new normal” for consumers in the UAE as the population adjusts its spending behaviour in a post-corona era, the analysis pointed out.