Nearly half of UAE residents think COVID pandemic effects will last a year: Survey

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Nearly half of the United Arab Emirates’ residents believe that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will last for another year, according to a survey conducted by consulting firm Kearney.

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The survey said 46 percent of consumers in the UAE believed the fallout from lockdowns and travel restrictions will continue until 2022.

Continuing to rollout COVID-19 vaccines to the population is key to rebuilding consumers’ confidence in visiting public places including restaurants and supermarkets, according to 47 percent of those surveyed.

The UAE’s economy, particularly tourism and hospitality-reliant Dubai, was hard-hit by the hampering of international travel and reduced footfall in retail outlets brought about by pandemic restrictions.

In 2020, Dubai’s sovereign wealth fund had a net loss of $5.1 billion. Meanwhile, the emirate’s famed developer Emaar Properties posted a 58 percent drop in net profit – a loss of nearly $1 billion.

However, as the country rolls out one of the world’s most comprehensive vaccination programs, signs that the economy is gaining steam have emerged.

Market research company S&P Global on Sunday raised its outlook for Emaar Properties from negative to stable.

“We expect a rebound in the company’s earnings and credit metrics in 2021,” S&P said in a statement.

Research by Kearney also showed that 73 percent of consumers have changed their shopping habits to adapt to life post-pandemic. Around one quarter of respondents reduced spending on essentials, while more than one third increased spending in the same category.

Spending on essentials including food has increased since the beginning of the pandemic while non-essential purchases overall have declined, according to the survey.

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