Google drove Dh11.3b to the UAE economy in 2021

Google’s Impact Report found that 90 per cent of surveyed Internet users used Google Search to keep up to date with the latest Covid-19 public health information, while 87 per cent used Google Search to stay up to date with travel restrictions


Rohma Sadaqat

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Anthony Nakache, managing director for Google in the Middle East & North Africa - Supplied
Anthony Nakache, managing director for Google in the Middle East & North Africa - Supplied

Published: Tue 24 May 2022, 3:09 PM

Google helped support an estimated Dh11.3 billion in economic activity in the UAE in 2021, a new report has found.

The Google Impact Report also revealed that the Andriod Developer Ecosystem is estimated to support 50,000 jobs in the UAE. Google commissioned independent consultancy, Public First, to explore how Google products helped people, businesses, and workers in the UAE throughout 2021. The report explored how Google products including Search, Maps, Android, YouTube, and Cloud helped people in the UAE keep up to date with the latest news and information, discover new local businesses, learn new skills, find jobs, and get more done at work.

Anthony Nakache, managing director for Google in the Middle East & North Africa, said that it is great to see the positive impact Google products have on the daily lives of people in the UAE, local business owners, developers, and content creators. “For 13 years, Google has been present in the UAE driving growth and economic contribution and we're deeply committed to continue investing and doing more through programs and local partnerships."

The Google Impact Report in the UAE explores the impact of Google products in 2021 across three areas: People, Businesses, and Economy. It found that 90 per cent of people used Google Search to find the latest Covid-19 public health information. It also found that 85 per cent of people used Google Search to learn a new skill and that 67 per cent used it to look for a job. Every month, an average of 1.8 million women use Google Search to look for a new job. In addition, 82 per cent of parents, with children under the age of 12, used YouTube Kids to learn something new.

When it comes to business, RedSeer Management Consulting estimates that e-commerce penetration in the UAE more than doubled from 5.6 per cent to 12.1 per cent between 2019 and 2021. As people spent more time online and at home, businesses adapted too – 35 per cent of businesses in the UAE started advertising online for the first time.

Google’s Impact Report showed that 39 per cent of businesses reported an increase of customers coming from online search or search advertising in the last two years. Additionally, 76 per cent of people in the UAE say that they regularly use Google Search to research a big purchase; while 71 per cent of people used Google Maps to find a local business.

Also, 63 per cent of online businesses said that Google Workspace was essential in enabling remote working. Looking ahead, 64 per cent of business leaders say that even when the pandemic recedes they think that they are likely to continue to make use of hybrid working.

"We have long standing partnerships to support the online presence of small businesses in the UAE and help them reach more customers,” said Nakache. “Small businesses are a cornerstone to the economy, and we will continue to find new programs to help them grow."

“In the last couple of years, Covid-19 has helped accelerate some pre-existing trends such as the rise of e-commerce, the shift towards remote working and the use of online tools to support lifelong learning. In our research, people and businesses across the Middle East told us how important Google’s tools and services had been in enabling them to adapt to these changes: helping small businesses start to sell online, supporting workers to collaborate better online and children to keep learning,” said Jonathan Dupont, partner at Public First.

Today, YouTube has a worldwide audience of over two billion users, with over one billion hours of content watched every day and over 500 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube every minute. The top five UAE based YouTube channels, by subscriber count, have over 53 billion views. Additionally, the percentage of YouTube channels in the UAE making six figures or more in revenue is up over 40 per cent, year over year and there has been a 30 per cent increase, year over year, in the number of channels that exceed one million subscribers.

For developers, Android provides access to over two billion monthly active users across 190 countries worldwide, with over 2.9 million apps available to download from the Play Store. Developers receive 70 per cent of any income they earn through the Google Play Store, and in addition to direct revenue many other developers also receive a significant income from contract work developing apps for businesses and brands.

In 2020, people in the UAE downloaded 500 million mobile apps across Google Play and the Apple App Store. Public First estimates that the Android Developer Ecosystem is supporting at least 50,000 jobs in the UAE, with around a third of these core software and app development jobs. Additionally, the number of developers in the UAE making $10,000 or more per month has grown by more than 16 per cent in the last 12 months.

In October 2020, Google announced a $13 million fund to help one million people and businesses in the Middle East and North Africa learn advanced digital skills and grow their businesses by the end of 2021. The program aims to accelerate the Mena region’s economic recovery through digital transformation, by offering digital tools, training and financial grants to support local businesses and job seekers.

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