Social media has come to play a decisive role in the rapidly transforming Saudi society. Saudi Arabia continues to be a social media powerhouse, being one of the biggest national markets for Snapchat and YouTube in the world. The global rise in social media amounts to 13% annually and Saudi Arabia leads the race among other nations with an exponential annual growth rate of 32%.
No conversation about the UAE is ever complete without talking about the incredible changes that the country has gone through over the last few decades. In recent years, the rate of this transformation has only sped up. We now see an even greater emphasis on technology, global trade and tourism in the nation’s administrative policies and international relationships. UAE is emerging as a global power with an increasing say and influence in world affairs.
What was once a sleepy little port on the Arabian peninsula has now grown into one of the epicentres of the global tourism industry.
The city of Dubai has been given a central role in the UAE government’s push to make the country into one of the premier tourist destinations in the world. The country’s burgeoning list of tourist attractions includes many iconic buildings and structures located in and around the city. Many of these new attractions, like the Dubai Frame, have already entered the lists of globally-renowned tourist destinations.
Dubai has already solidified its position among the leading tourist destinations in the world. Over the past decade, the city has consistently found itself among the top 10 most visited cities in the world and has also risen to prominence as an important travel hub.
The Emirati population has taken to social media like fish to water. Emiratis, on average, spend 2.56 hours on social media daily. Much like in the rest of the world, social media has become one of the most essential parts of daily internet usage in the UAE. It has given a voice to the ignored and served as a melting pot of ideas of all kinds.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is known as the heart of the Arab and Islamic worlds. The Kingdom is revered as the land of the two holy mosques and the direction to which Muslims all over the world, turn towards in prayer, every day.
The second largest Arab state, over the past decade, KSA’s GDP (Gross National Product) has grown by about 520 billion USD owing to the positive import-export trade balance. In fact, Saudi Arabia exports revenue is 2.5 times more than its imports revenue. In his Vision 2030 statement, the Crown Prince Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz envisions to build Saudi Arabia as an investment powerhouse and a hub connecting the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa.
The last two decades have completely reshaped the digital landscape of UAE. By creating a conducive environment for digital technologies through infrastructure and policies, UAE has now grown into the most digital-friendly country in the Middle East. By promoting innovators, the country has also been playing a prominent role in the growth of new digital technologies.
Snapchat works almost the way we communicate with people face to face. What it means is that when we talk to people we meet, nothing is ever saved or stored, these moments disappear. The disappearing photos feature changed the game for Snapchat, going the opposite route of the other social networks where every interaction is stored digitally. This created an entirely new social networking experience which caused teenagers to flock to this newbie platform.
Ecommerce has been one of the fastest growing businesses in the Middle East, and UAE has some of the most exciting online shopping figures in the region. Propelled by the country’s near complete internet penetration and its reputation as a world-class shopping destination, ecommerce has witnessed incredible growth in the UAE over the past 5 years. So much so that terms like “megatrend” have increasingly come to be used when talking about ecommerce in the country. In the following sections we explore this growth in detail and try to understand the varied characteristics of the ecommerce space in the UAE.
As the most technically sophisticated city in one of the fastest developing countries in the world, Dubai’s embrace of internet technologies and social media has been extraordinary. Out of the UAE’s population of about 9.54 million, around 9 million are active Facebook users. Out of total number of Facebook users in the UAE, nearly half are based in Dubai. Below we take a detailed and comprehensive visual look at a few Facebook related stats for the emirate.