UAE Businesses Ramp Up Online Presence During Global Pandemic: Study

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UAE entrepreneurs have increased their digital intiatives to help attract and retain more customers during the pandemic, according to the GoDaddy Entrepreneur Survey.

The study has revealed that 36 per cent of UAE entrepreneurs have increased their digital marketing activities to attract more customers. Nearly a third use their current online presence to sell goods or services. 68 per cent are sure that their business could survive a second wave of COVID-19 as big as the first one.

The quantitative survey report studied the effects the global pandemic has had on entrepreneurs and small business owners in the UAE and stated that most respondents intend to sell their products and services through social media platforms in 2021. A third of the respondents said that they plan to set up an official website for their business.

Selina Bieber, Senior Regional Director for Turkey and MENA, GoDaddy, said, “The GoDaddy Entrepreneur Survey clearly shows the ways in which entrepreneurs and small business owners in the UAE have been impacted by the global pandemic, over the last year. In line with current global trends, we have seen the shift towards having an online presence and the importance of the use of technology as a solution and a coping mechanism for these businesses, to stay active and engaged with customers.”

The survey highlights that 21 per cent of respondents said that, pre-pandemic, they managed the technology needs of their business themselves. 28 per cent said they had a friend or family member do it for them, while only less than a fifth had a web developer/professional manage their technology needs.

The GoDaddy report also revealed that 4 in 5 entrepreneurs feel that there is a good mix of online tools and resources available for small businesses which allows them to easily digitise their business. Meanwhile, 3 out of 4 entrepreneurs and small businesses agree that the UAE is a good hub for small businesses. 84 per cent consider digital adaptation to be very or relatively important towards achieving the UAE’s ‘Vision 2021′, which envisions economic advancement by promoting knowledge, innovation and technology which is a positive, optimistic sign.

Finally, the survey concludes that nearly a half of the respondents agree that practicing business ethics and values is a major contributor to a business’ success in the long term, with 94 per cent believing that business ethics and values are very or relatively important to their company/brand, in regard to how they operate internally and while working with customers and vendors.

In addition, 86 per cent of entrepreneurs consider workforce diversity to be very or relatively important for their company. Similarly, 46 per cent agree that it is a part of their company’s purpose to positively impact the local community.