Insights on UAE Digital Consumer Habits: ‘Connected Life’ study

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Adults in UAE own at least four devices each, bringing the UAE in line with the global average, according to a recent study from Connected Life by market research company TNS.

The Connected Life study shows UAE users as spending an average of five hours a day on devices whether it is mobile, tablet, pc or laptop.

WhatsApp fast emerging as the most favoured communication platform.

Connected Life UAE
‘Connected Life’ study reveals UAE consumers digital habits


The study tracked over 55,000 internet users across 50 countries, including in UAE and Saudi Arabia looking at the digital attitudes and behaviours while exploring how technology is transforming the lives of consumers.

The report says that the smartphone device ownership in the UAE is over-indexed, meaning consumers own more smartphones compared to the rest of the world.

The study also revealed that the UAE residents are communicating across Social Media channels up to five hours a day, and are fast to follow trends. In fact the UAE ranks ahead of many ‘mature’ markets, particularly when it comes to device-driven services.

“UAE consumers are very open to using mobile devices to support lifestyle. Examples include the monitoring of personal data like exercise, connecting the car or home to other devices or the internet, using a 3D printer, and even using wearable technology, such as a smart watch.

“This trend provides nimble marketers with a great opportunity for targeted communications,” said Stephen Hillebrand, CEO, Middle East.

However, he warned users have a tendency to work across multiple channels and are fast to adopt more advanced devices, meaning that the targeting opportunity is also a complex task.

The study suggests that there is a pattern in behaviour, and that consumers are selecting the device, channel or touch-point that is relevant to them and the moment they are in.

“Drilling down, it suggests that although males own more devices, all the users see the internet as an essential source of information and are quick to adopt new technologies,” Hillebrand said.

The study also shows UAE users are heavily influenced by what they see and read on digital and social channels, with an increasing number emerging as engaging influencers themselves.

“Internet users in the UAE are very active communicators and many are attracting followers across a variety of channels, including direct communications via Instant Messaging, email, and video/voice calls. Facebook and YouTube the top contenders, but it is the new-kid-on-the block, WhatsApp that is emerging as the most favoured communication platform of the moment.”

Hillebrand said that Connected Life also reveals details of mobile and traditional device usage, such as radio, newspapers and TV, creating an interesting combination of multi-screening or ‘screen-stacking’ – the use of multiple digital devices at the same time; a relationship that looks to be growing steadily.

“Advertisers must continue to adapt to our changing viewing habits. Online devices are offering more ways to access TV and video content, meaning that brands will need to adopt a more integrated marketing online approach in order to engage consumers,” Hillebrand concluded.

(How many devices do you own? and how many hours on average do you spend on devices? Let us know in the comments!)

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