The Impact of COVID on Consumers (UAE)
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed consumer behavior around the globe. How did this crisis affect consumers in the UAE in particular and what does this mean for businesses in the region?
What you should know:
- The pandemic has abruptly changed how the market works and many businesses find it hard to adapt and suffered as a result
- Businesses should keep on advertising during the pandemic and invest in technology to help them survive
- Technological investments have long-lasting results which may lead to a growth spurt during the post-COVID market
The COVID pandemic has once put the world to a halt. Economic activities have slowed down because of the restrictions in mobility, people had to stay at home, and whenever they go out, they had to maintain a minimum, social distance.
Most businesses suffered as a result. They experienced a decrease in sales, difficulty in generating leads, and incurred heavy losses. Some businesses shut down as a result, albeit temporarily, but most of them have shut down permanently.
The changes in the market and the disruptions caused by the pandemic have left many business owners confused. What do we have to do to survive? How do we encourage people to buy from us again? What should we do in the meantime to have a long-lasting impact after the crisis?
Changes in Consumer Behavior
Based on reports, a shift in the way consumers buy and the reasons that impel them to make a purchase have been observed:
- Change in “what consumers buy”
- Preferences in “how people buy”
- Change in UAE consumers’ spending patterns
Priority in products. According to research, consumers have been prioritizing “essential” items such as food, soap, alcohol, and household essentials, among others. Prioritization on “experience” such as vacations, outdoor entertainment and the likes have understandably been lower during these times. Interestingly, home activities and indoor entertainment businesses such as Netflix and other movie platforms have seen an increase in sales.
Digital adoption. The ways people buy have also changed during the coronavirus pandemic. With an increase in digital adoption (more people are now more reliant on the internet than ever such as e-commerce platforms to make purchases), consumers’ preferences on how they buy have also changed.
According to research, consumers prefer businesses that provide digital options more than those that do not.
Consumers in the UAE. In the United Arab Emirates, in specific, consumer optimism has remained unfazed since mid-March but the spending patterns of consumers have been observed to have changed.
The declining income of consumers in the UAE nudged them to look for more ways to save. They have also “started adopting digital and low-touch activities”, which include video conferences, e-learning, and grocery delivery, with indications of continuing these behaviors after the crisis.
What Businesses Should Do
With all the changes in the market, what should businesses do? Here are the following ways companies can respond to the ongoing disruptions:
- Keep on reaching out, advertise, make your presence felt
The importance of advertising during an economic recession has been observed in previous cases of pandemics (e.g. Spanish flu). They have noticed that companies that advertise during an economic slump tend to do better during and after the pandemic.
Keeping your presence felt will also have long-lasting effects, particularly during the post-crisis recovery (that period of economic growth after a pandemic-induced slowdown). With people eager for normalcy, they tend to remember in the post-recovery those companies that actively promoted their brand during the pandemic.
- Adopt technologies developed to bridge distances and help remote teams work more efficiently
Software programs have been developed to improve team collaboration between remote teams, even before the pandemic. With the ongoing situation, these programs are increasingly becoming more relevant than ever.
Ecosystems that host sales, marketing, support, and team workspace features have seen an increase in adoption in multiple industries. Dashboards and work automation are among the cited features that companies look for and find most useful.
Related Article: Top 5 Benefits of Workplace Automation
Technology Features to Use in the Pandemic
What do companies report to be most useful during the pandemic?
Companies report that dashboards that keep them informed of business data are useful to always keep them in the loop of whatever the business is going through.
This helps them make more informed business decisions that are data-driven and not just based on assumptions and guesses.
It also helps them collaborate with other teams as the dashboards would automatically update them of the results of other teams’ efforts.
- Work Automation
Landing pages that help with lead generation and email marketing solutions that would automatically send emails to target audiences are among the cited features that companies find most beneficial during the pandemic.