Major divide revealed in multimodal online search queries in UAE
There is a major divergence in the popularity of GCC online searches for land and sea cargo options, according to recent research from SEMrush, the award-winning digital marketing suite.
Trends during the last three years show a sharp contrast in local online search queries for the type of cargo transport sought, along with the related products and destinations for these shipments, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.
The majority of cargo searches in the UAE were related to air cargo at 94 per cent of online search volumes, versus sea cargo at four per cent and land at two per cent. The top four countries most mentioned in UAE cargo search queries were India, KSA, UK and France.
KSA’s online searches for cargo put land services in the lead with 62 per cent, followed by air at 25 per cent and sea at 13 per cent.
Internet cargo searches within the Kingdom mostly highlighted demand for domestic cargo services inside the main cities including Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam.
The most sought-after product related to cargo searches were car related, closely followed by those seeking the fastest and cheapest cargo services to Egypt and from the USA and UAE.
Meanwhile, the pattern in Kuwait revealed that air cargo was the most sought after at 50 per cent of searches, with land cargo coming a close second with 40 per cent and sea cargo at 10 per cent. Cars also featured prominently in cargo searches in Kuwait.
“Search data can tell marketers in the GCC a lot about the public’s needs and preferences,” said Adam Zeidan, corporate communications manager for SEMrush in MENA region. “These can be very different from the needs of corporations as we can see from the cargo search patterns across its market.”
“The fact that the UAE has positioned itself as the region’s cargo gateway is a strong pull factor that attracts the majority of searches in the country specifically looking for air cargo,” he added. “That is not the case in other GCC markets, where a large number of citizens and expatriates seek lower cost land cargo services to transport household possessions domestically or regionally. A key factor, especially when it comes to Saudi Arabia, is the size of the country. We often forget that geographically Saudi Arabia is nearly the size of Western Europe.”
Air cargo facilities have been expanding rapidly at both Abu Dhabi and Dubai international airports with approximately 3.6 million tons of air cargo handled by the UAE in 2017, according to reports from both emirates’ Chambers of Commerce.
In Saudi Arabia, where most online cargo searches relate to land freight services, experts estimate there are approximately 750 thousand light and heavy commercial vehicles in operation in the Kingdom, of which the vast majority are used to carry goods not passengers.