YouGov study finds sky-high use of socal media in the UAE

A new study by YouGov, a major information provider, shows exactly how pervasive new technologies are in the United Arab Emirates.

A July 4 press release shows some of the results of a recently released survey of 5,000 UAE residents. According to this research, the average UAE resident spends five hours a day using social media, and nearly one third of the respondents had at least a half dozen social media applications installed on their smartphones.

Not surprisingly, younger users reported more social media time per day, with 18- to 35-year-olds spending two to six hours a day compared to 36- to 55-year-olds who spent 30 minutes to two hours per day.

Facebook was the dominant social media site with a user base that’s grown exponentially in the past decade around the world. Approximately 82 percent of survey respondents use Facebook regularly - YouTube and LinkedIn were at second and third places respectively. 

The study also found UAE users also like to share what they find in the social media platforms - 40 percent reported sharing on Facebook daily. Many also posted personal photos, updated their status and viewed videos.

Even some of the less prominent social media sites get used quite a bit in the UAE, for example, 34 percent of respondents reported using Snapchat. However, other sites didn’t fare as well: only 2 percent of those surveyed used Flickr, Foursquare, Reddit and Tumblr.

The United Arab Emirates is not unique in its obsession with the new social media technology – a YouGov study on Saudi Arabia turned up similar results.

YouGov press contact Antonia Stockwell spoke to the Gulf News Journal on Wednesday about the process of putting together these detailed reports on how people interact with the world of technology.

Stockwell said that an online panel of over 500,000 respondents across the Middle East, North Africa and Southern Asia are a major asset to YouGov’s ability to pinpoint technology trends.

“Our panelists actively opt in to receive surveys from us because they want to make their voice heard.” Stockwell said. “As such, we have a very good response rate from which our specialist researchers can analyze key trends to inform particular markets. … We are constantly surveying our entire panel across 21 countries in the region to get to know them better and to shed light on their opinions on a range of topics and specialist areas to inform our clients and the wider community.”

Stockwell said YouGov’s queries take many different forms as the company tries to identify trends in multiple areas.

“Topics cover a variety of sectors including media, consumer, lifestyle, financial services, education, real estate, travel and tourism and leisure and entertainment," Stockwell said. "Our panel comprises people over 18 years of age from all demographic profiles.” 

Stockwell also commented on how YouGov structures surveys on social media for accuracy.

“Our survey on social media interviews the general population twice a year in a number of countries including the UAE and Saudi Arabia and the data is fully representative of the online adult population in both countries.” Stockwell said.

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