The digital marketing industry in Dubai is booming, as the overall economy of the United Arab Emirates continues to outperform those of many other developed nations. Digital marketing is now the predominant form of marketing in the country, overtaking traditional marketing in 2018, as businesses look to pivot their focus towards the online user and strengthen their positions online.
While it caused devastation worldwide, the global pandemic accelerated the growth of the digital marketing sector in the UAE over the past couple of years, as the importance of a digital presence was boosted. This online focus of consumers is highly unlikely to drop, despite the Covid situation now coming under control.
The UAE’s Economy at a Glance
Right now, the world’s economy is in a precarious position. The fall-out from Covid is still very much evident, while rampant inflation is afflicting many nations. The war in Ukraine only complicates things further, fuelling instability and causing energy crises in Europe.
Despite this, there’s one corner of the world where the economy is booming, unaffected by the chaos going on around it. The United Arab Emirates saw its economy grow by 3.8 per cent in 2021, but more importantly, it is projected by the IMF to grow by 5.1 per cent in 2022 and 4.2 per cent in 2023.
For context, the IMF predicts that the global average for growth in 2022 will be 3.2 per cent, dropping to 2.7 per cent in 2023. The United States is expected by the OECD to have GDP growth of 2.5 per cent in 2022 and just 1.2% in 2023. The UK economic outlook looks even worse, with Fitch Ratings predicting that the UK GDP will shrink by 1 per cent in 2023.
As can be seen, the UAE is in a strong position moving forward, fuelled mainly by high oil production. Oil GDP is expected to grow by 8 per cent and 5 per cent in 2022 and 2023, respectively. Moreover, the government’s commitment to boosting the manufacturing sector has started to have an effect, as they look to double the sector’s size by 2031.
Digital marketing occupies an essential niche in Dubai, with scores of companies competing for not only domestic clients but customers worldwide. The economy’s impressive performance has positively affected most industries, but digital marketing is currently soaring.
Simon Bell, managing partner at USEO Dubai, has seen this growth first-hand. He stated:
“In general, the demand for digital marketing across Dubai and the UAE has remained high.”
He went on to state that some Dubai businesses are now recruiting in-house SEO teams, but many others are relying on agencies to handle their digital marketing. The reason, according to Bell, is that “the need for a strong digital presence has not been greater than it is right now.”
The facts back up everything Bell is seeing. Statista shows that spending on digital advertising is predicted to rise to $357.80 million in 2023 – a huge 25 per cent increase on the previous year. It’s then expected to rise to $427.90 million in 2024.
This increase in advertising spend will go hand-in-hand with a greater reliance on the digital marketing sector, with companies large and small outsourcing their digital marketing efforts. A significant sum will also likely be spent on organic marketing in Dubai as companies seek to improve their search engine visibility.
Overall, digital marketing in Dubai is more robust than ever and only looks likely to increase in strength as the UAE economy continues to shine.