UAE consumers are growing increasingly interested in environmental conservation issues, especially in regards to ‘plastics in the ocean’ and ‘recycling’, which top associated online searches by the country’s residents ahead of World Environment Day (05 June), according to back-search data collected by SEMrush, the award-winning digital marketing suite.
The UAE’s most searched environmental-related term between May 2019 and April 2020 was ‘recycling’, which registered a 51 per cent rise for combined Arabic and English searches over 12 months, while specific English searches for ‘plastic recycling’ grew 49 per cent.
Examining historical search data going back to November 2015, online searches in Arabic and English for ‘recycling’ have grown steadily at 19 per cent, with English searches for ‘plastic recycling’ and ‘paper recycling’ witnessing 76 per cent and 15 per cent growth, respectively.
Amid widespread recent social distancing and population lockdowns, and the numerous news reports of clearer waters and improved nature conditions being shared on social media, public concern for the impact of plastic in the environment is reflected in online search growth in the UAE. Online search volumes for ‘plastic in the ocean’ in April 2020 were 85 per cent higher than May 2019.
Over the same period, UAE residents searching for paper alternatives for plastic disposable items increased dramatically, with ‘paper bag’ and ‘paper cup’ climbing 83 per cent and 170 per cent, respectively, in combined Arabic and English searches.
“With World Environment Day approaching, it is extremely reassuring to see digital data confirm growing search interest and awareness of these environmental issues in the UAE,” said Olga Andrienko, Head of Global Marketing at SEMrush. “Historical data shows that this is not a passing phase; it has become an increasing concern that can support marketing efforts to encourage sustainable practices.”
On a global level, the UAE is now ahead of major European and global nations in terms of online search volumes for ‘recycling’, the US and Italy seeing growth of 49.5 per cent and 49.55 per cent, respectively, between November 2019 to April 2020 period.
In-line with Covid-19 realities and UAE residents seeking personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic, online searches for ‘plastic gloves’ have increased from only 90 searches in January, to 2,070 searches in April – a growth in search volume of 1,970 per cent.