Dubai: How soon will businesses in the UAE feel recovery? It’s the one question owners and employees have been asking themselves repeatedly since COVID-19 burst through last year.
Now, nearly 80 per cent expect to have a complete recovery by the end of next year. And well over half (57 per cent) remain confident of a recovery before this year is out, according to findings brought out by Tradeling, the Dubai Airport Freezone (DAFZA)owned B2B online portal.
These businesses – up to 82 per cent of them – reckon that increased B2B services helped derive gains during this period. And they are sticking on. “The results from the UAE and Saudi, two of the most active markets in the GCC, provide evidence-based insights on a new fast-tracked digital world brought on by the pandemic,” said Mohammed Al Zarooni, Director-General of DAFZA.
“Whatever held back the growth in e-commerce for nearly two decades, especially in the Middle East region, has disappeared. At the height of the pandemic, customers had little choice but to resort to online shopping, and with it the floodgates of business opportunities opened.”
The feeling-better sentiments among businesses is likely to filter into job creation and new investments. Just over 40 per cent of businesses in the Tradeling survey said they would take on more employees, while 53 per cent intend to spend on new workplace/expansion needs.
No scaling back
Once businesses get the digital hang of doing things, they don’t see any need to drop using such processes. In the poll, 71 per cent said they will see more ecommerce happening, while 20 per cent said this will remain at current levels.
Feel good moments
On the business-to-business front, 50 per cent of respondents rate current market conditions as ‘good’. “Most respondents, especially in the UAE are optimistic, that business conditions will significantly improve a year from now, with 78 per cent sharing their optimism on the business environment improving, compared to 68 per cent in Saudi Arabia,” the report finds.
According to Al Zarooni, “The study serves as a blueprint for both the public and private sector by providing an unique perspective on the UAE and Saudi business community and shows how they are using B2B e-commerce. It highlights the challenges and opportunities for businesses in this active trading region and provides a roadmap for governments and businesses as they navigate a new digital reality brought on by COVID-19.”