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UAE’s online grocery searches jump 560% during Covid-19

As movement restrictions keep residents safe at home, online searches for groceries, pharmacies and popular consumer goods soar

Searches for ‘online pharmacy’ jumped 238%, while ‘pharmacy delivery’ searches climbed 184% Search volume with Zomato seeing a 55% search volume increase Dominos and Subway seeing increases of 40% and 61%, respectively

UAE residents are increasingly turning to home delivery options for their groceries amid social distancing and movement restrictions designed to minimise the impact of COVID-19, according to analytics from SEMrush, the award-winning digital marketing platform.

Searches related to ‘online grocery’ in the UAE grew a massive 560% between January 2020 – when the first COVID-19 case was announced in the UAE – and March 2020. Searches for ‘online pharmacy’ jumped 238%, while ‘pharmacy delivery’ searches climbed 184%.

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Delivery aggregators and consumer goods providers also saw steady increases in search volume with Zomato seeing a 55% search volume increase during the same period, while Uber Eats searches rose by 96% and Amazon searches climbed 44%. The delivery aggregator increases come despite the ongoing #UAERestaurantsUnite campaign, which encourages residents to shop direct.

Read: DubaiStore, UAE’s first online shopping initiative supporting SMEs, goes live

Collectively, fast food sites have seen a 33% increase in search volumes, with big winners like Dominos and Subway seeing increases of 40% and 61%, respectively.

“UAE web traffic analysis indicates a trend of consumers bypass aggregators to order food deliveries direct,” commented Olga Andrienko, Head of Global Marketing at SEMrush. “It would be worthwhile for regional businesses to continuously monitor online search and traffic data to assess online trends in any sector.”

Similar trends have been witnessed around the world, with online shopping seeing a 50% increase in Germany, a 122% increase in Japan and a 108% increase in Korea.

Read: Almost half of UAE consumers to maintain current shopping habits post COVID-19

“The COVID-19 outbreak has affected people around the world; it has also affected behavioural patterns in daily routines globally, causing ripple effects that have temporarily changed the global economy,” added Andrienko.

The World Economic Forum has estimated the UAE’s 2020 e-commerce market to be valued at $27.2 billion.