Google MENA announced today the findings of a UAE-focused report which shows that search engines are the most used and most preferred tool for finance research, with almost half of online research for products such as bank accounts and personal loans starting from search engines.
Additionally, close to 40 per cent of people report banking online on a monthly basis. Google commissioned the study into digital purchasing, researching and banking behaviours as part of its commitment to developing the digital ecosystem in the UAE.
“People across the world search on Google for information billions of times a day. The stats show that Middle East and North Africa region is a fast emerging market with the searches per day showing a growth rate of 25 per cent year on year,” said Mohamad Mourad, Google Gulf regional manager.
“The results of this study imply that companies in the finance and banking industry should enhance their presence on search engines to provide their customers base with the most relevant information about their products.”
The study showed that while consumers mostly prefer to purchase finance products offline, much of the research happens online, with 52 per cent of the 1000 people surveyed saying they used a search engine to search for product information.
While the UAE is digitally-savvy in terms of research, conservative purchasing behaviour was observed, with respondents only buying, on average, 1.2 finance products in the previous 24 months, indicating the digital finance sector has room to grow in the coming years.
In terms of online banking, the internet is becoming a popular channel for processing banking transactions, with four out of ten respondents engaging in at least one online banking transaction on a monthly basis.
Paying bills, transferring money, and keeping an eye on account balances and account transactions are the most popular online banking activities, and while the vast majority of users access their online banking system via stationary internet, nearly 30 per cent reported using some kind of mobile device to engage in online banking activities, displaying strong growth potential for mobile banking and finance applications.