Online searches for groceries, deliveries peak, Dubai Chamber analysis finds

Restrictions imposed to contain the Covid-19 outbreak in the UAE have led to significant changes in consumer behaviours in the country, acco...

  
Close-Up Of Hand Holding Mobile Phone Against Retail Display At Supermarket. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Close-Up Of Hand Holding Mobile Phone Against Retail Display At Supermarket. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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Restrictions imposed to contain the Covid-19 outbreak in the UAE have led to significant changes in consumer behaviours in the country, according to new analysis published by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The study, based on Google Trends data, 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 per cent year-on-year growth in February, a 252 per cent year-on-year growth in March, and 316 per cent year-on-year growth in April. Popular search queries that registered the highest increase in search frequency include "online grocery", and "grocery delivery".

In addition, searches for "online courses" peaked in April 2020, before falling in May. This reduction is natural, and may not 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 occurred 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" was another popular term plugged into search engines over the last few months. The suspension of international travel 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.

"With more businesses joining the race to capture these emerging trends, the need for digitalisation has become more crucial than ever to gain efficiency and flexibility; with those successfully integrating technological solutions into their existing operations' processes and supply chain management systems potentially gaining a major competitive advantage in the new COVID-19-shaped competitive landscape," the study noted.

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