UAE: How Did COVID-19 Affect The Consumer Behavior?

Published June 17th, 2020 - 06:15 GMT
UAE: How Did COVID-19 Affect The Consumer Behavior?
The biggest change for many residents has been in cutting back on food deliveries and going out over the weekend. (Shutterstock)

Residents across the UAE have taken to limiting what they are buying in an effort to save more money, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many noted that they have cut back almost completely on impulse spending online, and are actively looking for deals at supermarkets and shopping centres that give them more value for their money.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Yusuf Stapic, a resident in Dubai said that the biggest change for many residents has been in cutting back on food deliveries and going out over the weekend.

"Before the lockdown, it wasn't uncommon for me to order lunch to be delivered to my office almost every single day, simply because it was convenient," he said. "In addition, weekends would find me going out once, and sometimes even twice, but all that has been put to an end now. People are looking to save money by not eating at overly expensive restaurants and buying new stuff for themselves at shopping malls."

Immediate needs over want

Stapic revealed that the focus has shifted to residents prioriting their immediate needs over what they want. For him, that means less time spent on 'spa days' for his beloved car, and cutting back on coffee runs. "I used to spend lots of time on online shopping sites looking for stuff for my car, but almost all of my purchases now are limited to grocery shopping and nothing else."

Similarly, S. M. Yakoob, another Dubai resident, said that one of the first things she had done was cut back on grabbing a coffee everyday on the way to work. She revealed that she had been in the process of looking for a new apartment in Dubai, but all those plans had to be put on hold because of the economic uncertainty brought about by the pandemic.

"I can't afford to put forth a down payment to secure the apartment because there is so much uncertainty about what will happen in the next few months," she said. "Also, I don't think that this is a good time to be dipping into your savings."

Look for deals in different places

Zehra Masood, a resident of Dubai, revealed that she had taken to looking for deals in different places in an effort to save money. She said that she is buying her fruits and vegetables from Al Aweer Market because the prices there are cheaper, and that residents can also save by buying toiletries such as toilet paper, shampoo and shower gels, as well as dry food items from various Dh10-Dh20 stores.

"There has also been no dining out and fewer orders placed on Zomato these past few months," she said.

Samuel Mark John, a resident in Abu Dhabi, shared that observation, and said that he has also stopped ordering out like he used to before the lockdown. Another change has revolved around the type of purchases he has made online.

"I have been with my parents in Al Ain ever since the lockdown, so it's mostly been home cooked meals," he said. "Also, I am actively looking for deals when shopping online for groceries and other products."

Saving for an uncertain economic future

B. A., a Dubai resident, said that she had increased her efforts to save more, given the looming uncertainty regarding job cuts and salary slashes. She explained that her son is due to start school this year and that she has another baby on the way. Both of these combined mean an increase in expenses, which is why she is looking to put aside some extra savings.

"You have lots of daily expenses like groceries, utilities, and car maintenance, and now that we are expecting a new member to our family, we have to start saving more for the future," she said.


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