In 2021, many of us adapted to the “new normal” as the Covid-19 pandemic entered its second year. At the same time, the acceleration of digital transformation brought about by the pandemic continued around the world. The Middle East & North Africa region was no different, with more businesses focusing on their digital presence and people turning to the internet to help them navigate daily life.
We’re often asked how our products support the MENA region’s economies, businesses and people in their day-to-day lives. In the wake of the pandemic this question became more important than ever.
Today, I’m excited to share the Google Impact Report, a report conducted by Public First research agency that looks at,Google products helped people, businesses and the economy in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates throughout 2021.
Searching for Reliable, Authoritative InformationIn 2021, people needed to remain up-to-date with the changing public health authority guidelines, travel restrictions. Public Firstfound that 90% and 70% of respondents in the UAE and Saudi Arabia respectively used Search to keep up to date with the latest Covid-19 public health information and 68% of people in Egypt used it to keep up with the news that was largely dominated by Covid-19.
Searching for SkillsMany people used their time in 2021 to continue learning, for some families, it meant assisting their children’s learning. The report found that 80% of parents in the UAE said they used YouTube Kids to learn something.
In fact, 85% of respondents in the UAE said they used Search to learn a new skill, 1.8 million people in Saudi Arabia used it to prepare for a job interview and 49% in Egypt used Search multiple times a day throughout their studies.
Access to Jobs During this time, Public First estimates that the Android developer ecosystem in the UAE alone supported at least 50,000 jobs in 2021. As part of the job search, people also need help preparing for interviews, and the report found that in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, 1.8 million and 2 million people respectively came to Search to help prepare for a job interview.
Supporting growth for businesses of all sizesIn 2021, our products also helped businesses reach new customers, and in some cases, supported the shift to online for the first time.
In Egypt, almost 50% of businesses reported an increase of customers coming from online search or Search advertising. In the UAE, 71% of people used Google Maps to find a local business, and 77% to find something new to try. In Saudi Arabia, 67% online businesses said that Google Workspace was essential or important to their business in enabling remote working.
Driving Economic activity Public First estimates that Google Search, YouTube, Android and Ads drove an estimated 12.2 billion SAR to the Saudi economy, 11.2 billion AED to the UAE economy and 11.2 billion EGP to the Egypt economy. The larger part of the economic activity goes to local businesses, startups, entrepreneurs, content creators and developers.
The Impact report also found that the number of developers making US$10K per month on Google Play has grown by 15% in Saudi Arabia and the UAE and by 22% by Egypt. In Egypt, YouTube channels making 6 figures or more in revenue were up by 55% and 20% in Saudi Arabia year on year.
We’re proud that our products are engines of growth in MENA, by giving access to useful information and knowledge and an enabler of economic opportunities for young talent. The region is young, smart and digital, and we're committed to doing more through local programs and partnerships.