Most UAE net users 'stay online for over 3 hours'
Dubai , September 18, 2011
A majority of the Internet users in the UAE spend three hours or more online every day, according to a survey.
The survey on internet usage in the Middle East conducted by Bayt.com, a leading Middle East job site, and YouGov, a research and consulting organisation, revealed that the predominant reason for going online is to participate in social activities.
According to the survey results, every day 38 per cent of UAE-based respondents claim to connect with friends via email, and 41 per cent 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 per cent of UAE respondents using the internet to seek employment, a statement said.
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 per cent); participating in online courses (40 per cent); uploading video clips to video sharing websites (40 per cent); playing online games (37 per cent); uploading photos to a photo sharing website (30 per cent).
“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,” said 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 1,049 UAE respondents, only 10 per cent claimed to not have a Facebook profile. The balance between Twitter, LinkedIn and ‘other’ networking sites (excluding Netlog and Hi5, which had 8 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively) is relatively even – LinkedIn just tips Twitter with 28 per cent as opposed to the latter’s 27 per cent, while 25 per cent of respondents also had a profile on ‘other’ sites. Only 7 per cent claimed to have no social networking profiles at all.
Facebook usage is especially high, with 70 per cent logging onto the site on a daily basis, whereas only 21 per cent visit Twitter every day. The majority of UAE users (a combined figure of 58 per cent) will spend between 30 minutes and 3 hours a day on Facebook, with another 16 per cent claiming to be signed into their account most times of the day. Twitter, on the other hand, has 42 per cent of users who log in for less than 30 minutes a day, and 30 per cent who log in for between 30 minutes and one hour.
In the UAE, 43 per cent 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 (65pc), rather than sites being blocked (20pc).
For online shopping, the results demonstrate that 12pc of respondents research for online deals/special offers daily, 12pc most days of the week, 13pc at least once a week, and an additional 10pc 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 27pc have never purchased an airline ticket through the internet, with 21pc saying they will buy once every 4-6 months, and 33pc 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, 54pc access the former, with the latter two coming up an even 48pc each.
In terms of the amount of time spent online every day, only 30pc of the UAE respondents are online for less than two hours a day. The majority, at 34pc, use the internet for between 3-4 hours daily, while 20pc claim to surfing the web for more than six hours every day. – TradeArabia News Service