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UAE consumers sold on recovery

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on October 17, 2020
Consumers across the GCC, South Africa and Turkey have done a lot more shopping online during the pandemic than before. - Reuters

The increase in optimism can be attributed to the reopening of the economy.

More UAE consumers are sanguine about the recovery of the economy now compared to four months ago and they see the economy rebounding faster in the next couple of months, says a new survey.

As many as 61 per cent of UAE residents believe now that the economy will rebound within two to three months and grow just as strongly as or stronger than before Covid-19 against 57 per cent at the end of June, according to a McKinsey & Co survey.

The number of people who think that Covid-19 will have a long-lasting impact on the economy and show regression or fall in to lengthy recession fell from 15 per cent in June to five per cent in mid-October, while 34 per cent are unsure that the economy will be impacted for six to 12 months or longer and will stagnate or see slow growth thereafter.

The increase in optimism can be attributed to the reopening of the economy, resumption of air travel and the government's proactive approach to control the pandemic through large-scale testing and tougher actions against violators of Covid-19 guidelines.

Ahmed Youssef, senior partner at McKinsey & Co, said consumers in the Middle East and Africa region are unsure when the Covid-19 crisis will end but believe that it will take at least four months for life to return to pre-crisis norms.

"Consumers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria are more optimistic than their peers in France, Spain and Turkey that their economies will rebound within two to three months. That is the result of a higher starting point: Consumers in Saudi Arabia and the UAE were relatively upbeat about their economies at the start of 2020," he added.

Conducted across 11 countries, the survey results showed that UAE and Saudi Arabia consumers are followed by people in China, India, Nigeria, the US, Turkey, South Africa, Italy and Spain.

More online shopping
Yousself said the Middle East and Africa region has been relatively slow to adopt e-commerce, but the Covid-19 pandemic has brought a step change in behaviours.  

"Consumers across the GCC, South Africa and Turkey have done a lot more shopping online during the pandemic than before, amid higher demand for groceries, personal care, and household supplies. In fact, consumers in Saudi Arabia and the UAE have seen among the highest rates of 'new or increased' users in online deliveries [restaurant products and groceries] and communications [videoconferencing and remote learning]," he said.

UAE residents expect to spend and order more online on groceries, non-food child products and household supplies but will reduce online spending on snacks, tobacco products, food takeout and delivery, restaurant, footwear, apparel, jewellery and accessories, skincare and makeup and furnishing and appliances.  

Most of the retailers in the UAE have strengthened their online platforms and also reported better sales after the height of Covid-19.

"Since Covid-19, we have seen a massive boom in online shopping and we think it is the best time to tap into this market with all guns blazing. This is why we have made our diverse portfolio of products available on our e-commerce site," said Adel Sajan, director of Danube Home, at the launch of the firm's new and improved e-commerce platform.

Global consultancy Kearney recently said that that the UAE's e-commerce sector will grow from $5.7 billion last year to $6.7 billion in 2020.
- waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com



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