Global Media Intelligence 2020: United Arab Emirates

Global Media Intelligence 2020: United Arab Emirates

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Key Features

The online population in UAE, like Saudi Arabia, is chiefly composed of archetypal early adopters with established digital habits.

  • Males and city dwellers make up a large part of the online population in UAE. Given those skews, it’s not surprising to find high levels of engagement with digital devices and activities.
  • In H1 2020, the share of internet users owning a smartphone remained vastly greater than the share owning a PC at 97.1% versus 64.7%. Neither value had altered much since H1 2019. Some 37.0% of respondents owned a tablet—a decrease of nearly 3 percentage points year over year (YoY). Feature phone penetration dropped below 10% for the first time.
  • Confirming the primacy of mobile activity, internet users spent an estimated 4 hours, 16 minutes per day (4:16) on average with mobile devices. Time spent with PCs and tablets was a full hour less at 3:16. In fact, PC and tablet time had decreased from H1 2019, while mobile time rose.
  • Smart TV penetration also declined marginally to 37.3% in H1 2020. As in Turkey, there was a notable drop in ownership of smart TVs among internet users living in affluent households.
  • All traditional media lost audience share in UAE between Q1 2019 and Q1 2020, according to GlobalWebIndex/Publicis Media. That said, broadcast media reached a large majority of internet users; 78.5% of those polled had watched TV in the prior month, and 63.9% had listened to radio programs. Print formats took the worst punishment, as in other countries. Penetration of print newspapers dropped more than 8 percentage points to 52.8%, while print magazine readership fell to 48.0%. Respondents in low- and high-income households were more likely to read either format than internet users in middle-income households.
  • Daily time devoted to print newspapers and magazines lagged time spent with online press—at 1:02 to 1:30 on average, respectively—but both had increased YoY.
  • Many people now listen to digital audio material, too. Younger internet users predominate in these audiences. More than three-quarters (77.2%) of respondents in UAE had streamed music, podcasts, or other digital audio content in the prior month, with more than 84% of 16- to 34-year-olds doing so. Intriguingly, affluents were no longer the income group most engaged with digital audio this year; instead, penetration was slightly higher among low-income respondents.
  • Voice search continues to gain fans as well, though most of these still belong to typical early-adopter demographics. Among total respondents in H1 2020, 46.2% had used tools like Microsoft’s Cortana or Apple’s Siri in the prior month or used voice commands via a smart speaker or similar device. Usage exceeded 50% among respondents ages 16 to 34.

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authors

Karin von Abrams

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