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  • UAE’s business sentiment hits highest point since Pre-COVID.

    March 16, 2021

    COVID, the seemingly relentless topic has now been infiltrating our conversations for an entire year. But the ‘negative’ (or is it positive?) sentiment is not so relentless.  

    Although COVID has changed almost every single aspect of our day-to-day lives; the way we eat, the way we work and the way we communicate, it has not been successful in changing our optimistic bias for the future. 

    We started our business sentiment series back in November 2020, and have gone through the highs and lows of each month as we progressed. While the lows lasted for the most part of 2020, 2021 has started off with some positivity, and our latest update has revealed March 2021 to be the highest positive peak for business and employment since 2019. The only question left is, how high can our positivity go and where is the plateau, or even correction?

    COVID-free business talk.

    We started tracking the COVID conversation as soon as it emerged in March 2020; and watched closely as it became a part of the business and economy conversations up and until the end of summer 2020. Fast forward to March 2021, COVID is no longer of interest (has become old news) to the business world. Mentions of COVID-19 made up only 22% of the overall business conversation which is a huge drop when compared to the 50% in January 2021 and the 90% earlier in June 2020.

    Mentions of business and COVID
    Mentions of business and COVID

    Although there has been a drop in the business conversation overall, it has seen an increase since December 2020 and remains higher than the pre-COVID era.

    Let’s talk Employment.

    Employment overall had seen a big hit since COVID struck. With redundancies, bankruptcies and loss of businesses taking a toll on the business world, negativity spread fast. The employment conversation had been taken over by COVID and while it hit its peak early in March, it continued to drop until early September when it picked up again. 

    The announcement of the new COVID-19 variant affected the employment market yet again, and the conversation had seen drops in December. However, since the beginning of January, the employment conversation has been on the rise again and this time, without all the COVID mentions.

    Mentions of employment in the UAE
    Mentions of employment in the UAE

    COVID-19 made up 44% of the overall employment conversation in March 2021 and 45% in January of the same year, which is a huge drop from November 2020 (56%) and 78% earlier in June 2020.

    The Positive Sentiment.

    The UAE has been extremely active since the beginning of COVID-19. It is safe to say, the country has dealt with the situation quite well. As it stands, Dubai has minimal COVID restrictions within borders and is open for travel. Over 6.5 million vaccines doses have been administered to date with a net dose rate of 65.13 per 100 people. These remarkable accomplishments have spread positivity across the country, and have attracted foreign talent too.

    Business on the rise.

    On a similar trend line,  business sentiment has reached new heights as of late. Although December had a few bumps, and saw negative news affect us for a short while; since the beginning of 2021, the business sentiment has been more positive.

    Business sentiment over time
    Business sentiment over time

    March 2021 has seen the highest positivity rate since February 2020, and has seen the highest number of positive posts since 2019. With a rate of 64%, this month continues the positivity trend which has reached its highest peak since COVID hit. This is a great increase when compared to 60% in February 2021, 43% in November 2020 and just 0.8% in August. The increase in the rate has slowed down, and that is expected; as we continue to progress throughout  the year, we expect the positivity to increase but with smaller percentages until it plateaus.

    Economy – A slower return to positivity.

    Things were quite different with the economy’s sentiment in January 2021. The negativity carried over from the new COVID variant which affected the economy’s sentiment for quite some time. The negativity grew in January and saw some fluctuation through February; but once again, March came in with some good news. For the first time since November 2020, there has been a positivity trend.

    Sentiment of mentions of the economy over time
    Sentiment of mentions of the economy over time

    In comparison, March 2021 so far, has had the highest positivity rate, since the beginning of 2020 which includes the pre-COVID era.

    Although, January 2021 saw more negativity than positivity, things have changed since.

    Economy confidence index in the UAE
    Economy confidence index in the UAE


    Things are finally starting to look up. March 2021 has been positive all around.

    With the improvement of audiences’ sentiment towards business, the economy and employment; consumers’ spending habits are expected to see positive changes.

    The audience is getting more comfortable; vaccine intake is on the rise and there’s been a drop in the number of new COVID-19 cases.

    All of this points towards a *fingers crossed* bigger and better Ramadan 2021, at least bigger and better than 2020.

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