Bayt.com, the Middle East’s number one job site
A survey to investigate internet usage in the Middle East by Bayt.com, the Middle East’s number one job site, and YouGov, a research and consulting organisation, has revealed that the predominant reason for going online is to participate in social activities. Survey results showed that 70% of UAE respondents spend three hours or more online every day.
According to the survey results, every day 38% of UAE-based respondents claim to connect with friends via email, and 41% of the same demographic connect with friends through social networking sites. Watching video clips and listening to music are also popular daily online activities and a very significant proportion of daily usage comes from online job hunting, with 46% of UAE respondents using the internet to seek employment.
The least popular daily online activities, in terms of the percentage of UAE survey responses who have never accessed the facility, are downloading podcasts (43%); participating in online courses (40%); uploading video clips to video sharing websites (40%); playing online games (37%); uploading photos to a photo sharing website (30%).
“There is a definite trend across the survey region that leans towards using the internet for social purposes as well as for job hunting and career related purposes. This is very encouraging data and further bolsters Bayt.com’s foray into the career-centric social arena with our proprietary People platform which allows the region’s professionals to build an attractive public profile based on their completed CV and bolster that with badges and referrals,” commented AmerZureikat, VP Sales at Bayt.com.
Results asking survey-takers to state all social networks to which they belong proved that Facebook is the site of choice; of the 1049 UAE respondents, only 10% claimed to not have a Facebook profile. The balance between Twitter, LinkedIn and ‘other’ networking sites (excluding Netlog and Hi5, which had 8% and 12%, respectively) is relatively even – LinkedIn just tips Twitter with 28% as opposed to the latter’s 27%, while 25% of respondents also had a profile on ‘other’ sites. Only 7% claimed to have no social networking profiles at all.
Facebook usage is especially high, with 70% logging onto the site on a daily basis, whereas only 21% visit Twitter every day. The majority of UAE users (a combined figure of 58%) will spend between 30 minutes – 3 hours a day on Facebook, with another 16% claiming to be signed into their account most times of the day. Twitter, on the other hand, has 42% of users who log in for less than 30 minutes a day, and 30% who log in for between 30 minutes – one hour.
In the UAE, 43% of survey-takers claim to use social networking websites at their place of work; the main reason for not accessing such sites while in the office are due to the employee not having time (65%), rather than sites being blocked (20%).
For online shopping, the results demonstrate that 12% of respondents research for online deals/special offers daily, 12% most days of the week, 13% at least once a week, and an additional 10% at least once a month. The overwhelming majority of respondents have never purchased books, cinema tickets, items from online auctions or ‘other’ (such as clothing or electronics) online; only 27% have never purchased an airline ticket through the internet, with 21% saying they will buy once every 4-6 months, and 33% purchasing less often than that.
The trend across the region is for people to access political news online as opposed to business or lifestyle/leisure news; in the UAE, 54% access the former, with the latter two coming up an even 48% each.
In terms of the amount of time spent online every day, only 30% of the UAE respondents are online for less than two hours a day. The majority, at 34%, use the internet for between 3-4 hours daily, while 20% claim to surfing the web for more than six hours every day.
When it comes to online access, Google Chrome is the UAE’s browser of choice, opted for by 39% of respondents; similarly, Google reigns as the search engine of choice, with 97% preferring to use it over its peers. Gmail, however, is surpassed by Yahoo! for email usage, though not by far – 65% use the latter, compared to 62% using the former. Hotmail comes in third, with 53%. As far as chat programmes are concerned, Yahoo! Messenger is the most popular platform in the UAE, with 55% of respondents using it; a close second is Skype with 51%, followed by Google talk! (42%) and Windows LIVE (34%).
In general, across all surveyed regions the method of choice for connecting to the internet is via personal computer (desktop, laptop and netbook), by a majority of 96%. Personal computer ownership in the UAE is 67%, with 71% of respondents having fixed line broadband at home, and 79% claiming to have WiFi access. Only 24% of the region’s respondents use a mobile or smartphone to access web content, with 5% opting to browse from their tablet computer. The most common place of access is at home (86%), followed by work (46%); mobile access and internet cafes come a close third, with 21% and 17% respectively.
The biggest concern to do with the internet put forward across the region is inappropriate content being easily accessible to children and youths. In the UAE, this is followed by (in order of biggest – lowest concern) internet addiction, the internet keeping people away from an active lifestyle, spam, social interaction becoming limited away from the internet and lack of privacy.
Data for the Bayt.com Internet Usage in the Middle East survey was collected online from August 1 - 24, 2011, with 8,981 respondents (predominantly male – 82% as opposed to 18% women) aged 18+, representing Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, KSA, Syria, Tunisia and the UAE.