Could Dubai become Monaco of the Middle East?

Could Dubai become Monaco of the Middle East?

Before the global Covid outbreak, business executives and professionals used to fly to Dubai from their hometowns quite frequently. In the wake of the global social distancing protocols, many of these business professionals decided to move to Dubai permanently. Free travel was still restricted and there was an urgent need to be based in a place from where smooth business operations could be made possible. It helped Dubai to emerge as the perfect place for international business owners and professionals.

Why Dubai?

Strategic location and direct flights to most destinations are not the only factor that influenced the international business travelers’ throng to Dubai. There are many other contributing factors like a stable government, a tax-free regime, a unique location, and its bilateral terms with the rest of the world.

Taxes are on the rise in the post-Covid era

While taxes are on the rise globally in the post-Covid era, Dubai has continued to offer a tax-free regime to its investors, business owners, and HNWIs. Dubai has started many visa classes to attract HNWIs like Golden Visa. Further, visa classes for freelancers and global workers are available as well which are not tied to a company. There are no taxes apart from the Value Added Tax (VAT) which are only 5%.

European HNWIs Throng to Dubai Post-Pandemic

Investors and business owners flock to the regions where money flows. In the post-pandemic world, the HNWIs from Europe have found a new home in Dubai. According to a recent report, more than 2,000 millionaires have moved to Dubai since the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

The New World Wealth, known for tracking wealth movement by millionaires, said in one of its recent reports that the HNWIs population in Dubai surged to 54,000 by June 2021, which was 52,000 in December 2020, thereby translating an increase of 3.8%.

Monaco – a city-state situated on the French coast of the Mediterranean, has one of the highest number of HNWIs per capita. In the post-covid world; many HNWIs are choosing Dubai as their home.  So it is the only logical reason to see what sectors will prosper in Dubai.

Monaco’s Top-Performing Sectors

According to IMSEE, scientific and technical activities, administrative and support services contributed 20.3% to Monaco’s GDP, followed by financial and insurance activities at 18.3%, construction at 11.4%, real estate at 9.6%, and wholesale trade at 8.6%. Breakdown of Monaco’s market is below:

A Glance at the UAE Economy (Sector Wise)

The UAE economy is quite mature when it comes to sectors that normally flourish with HNWIs. No difference when it comes to a sector diversification in recent times. According to the figures prepared by Statista, the wholesale and retail industry contributed 22.7%, financial services & insurance chipped in with 11.9%, transport and storage with 11.7%, manufacturing with 8.9%, and real estate with 8.2% to the UAE GDP during the first quarter of the Year 2021.

Sectors to Look Forward in Dubai in Next 10 Years

If you take a detailed look at the above comparison among the economies of the UAE and Monaco, many common sectors contribute tremendously to their wealth.

Administrative and Support Services; for HNWIs is something that makes up 20% of Monaco’s GDP. This sector is set to grow in Dubai; whether these are concierge services, virtual/physical assistants, fashion designers, interior designers or collectables like NFTs and Art.

Real Estate and Construction; more or less takes up the same share of GDP between Monaco and Dubai. As the market matures; the quality work will thrive while volume work of setting-up tens of buildings will stay stagnant.

Financial and Insurance; is one of the most regulated area across the world. Dubai needs to accept international collateral against financial liabilities for larger transactions. With DIFC; Dubai is trying to achieve that and hopefully more boutique and investment banks will call it home in the coming years.

Tourism; will not do well in the coming 10 years whether that is personal or business. With rising competition from Saudi as well as COVID era risks and realization of how viruses spread; people will avoid unnecessary travel. This sector provides jobs to around 48% of residents and probably will be re-adjusted into support services.

Diamond and Gold Trading; with an influx of HNWIs; these industries are expected to grow whether in the form of final wearables or a raw commodity as hedge against inflation.

Our Opinion

We believe by 2030 Dubai will be somewhat of morph between Switzerland and Monaco for Middle East. Switzerland for its neutrality in a turbulent WWII Europe and Monaco for its Tax Friendly policies. For businesses; the environment ahead will stay chaotic for the foreseeable future where growth will be tied to change. A small SME construction company might want to venture into upgrading existing homes; a Travel agent; might want to focus more on healthcare tourism. One thing that COVID has taught everyone; you can not predict the future; and it is necessary to stay agile to stay afloat.

Can Stripe be a Game Changer for United Arab Emirates?

Usman Khalid is a CEO of Centric and ViroMasks. Centric is a digital transformation agency and ViroMasks is primarily an eCommerce brands selling in over 30 countries currently. The below opportunity and thoughts are his personal opinions and is not legal advice. 

Stripe, one of the world’s largest payment processor with over 1 Million accounts is opening in United Arab Emirates imminently. Stripe is a 100 Billion USD company with more of its key customers receiving payments from over a hundred countries. Stripe Atlas, is a division of Stripe; that helps you setup a company in USA along with Tax ID and Bank accounts for a fee of less than a thousand dollars. Stripe works; and is easy to integrate not only with your custom built eCommerce stores but also for SaaS model stores like Shopify and others.

United Arab Emirates, is a country right in the middle of the world map. It is a tax-free country (with some exceptions); is very well connected through its airlines Emirates and Etihad which in the post pandemic world are relying more on cargo than passengers. UAE, has a free market approach with no limitations on foreign currency transactions or business ownership (in Freezone). UAE, in addition offers visa on arrival to more than 50 countries, is home to over 200 nationalities and offers a very open culture.

Global eCommerce, is set to grow at accelerated pace. In 2020; the USA eCommerce grew by close to 40%. Globally, eCommerce sales now depict around 16% of total global retail sales. With more brands looking at eCommerce from a global angle than just their home markets; UAE can provide some key advantages.

How to capitalize on Stripe coming to UAE?

First and foremost; is to get on Stripe Atlas and the only way to get on it will be to provide cheaper business licenses. Currently, it costs upwards of five thousand USD to open a company in UAE. Getting on Stripe Atlas platform will be key to get a steady stream of new businesses opening up in UAE. We are hoping that a Freezone like DMCC or DAFZA will already be looking into it. Without Strip Atlas as the platform to open companies in UAE; we believe it will remain difficult to attract SMEs to open.

Secondly, UAE is hub of east and west trade. It made its place through Jebel Ali Free zone and port back in early 90s. This attracted quite a few companies and was instrumental in making Dubai a regional Hub for regional trade. Tourism followed shortly afterwards and now welcomes around 20 Million visitors per year (minus the COVID year).

Thirdly, UAE boasts the busiest International Airport in the world. Emirates and Etihad; the local airlines have hundreds of planes and we are quite sure in post pandemic world; they would be prioritising cargo operations. This would enable cost efficient movement of stock for eCommerce companies. In addition; the like of DHL, Fedex and UPS have their regional offices located in UAE.

Way Forward?

Stripe is to payments what Amazon is to eCommerce. Stripe is big and accelerating the growth every year. It is in their benefit to offer better jurisdictions for their potential customers. UAE has unique advantages around Taxation; which is typically a nightmare for USA and European entities if the owners are foreigners. The tax bills as well as the consultants to file these properly costs upwards of tens of thousands of US dollars per year. Previously, these entities were necessary to get an account with Stripe. One of UAE Freezones need to capitalize on this opportunity and provide one click company opening at less than a thousand USD. Rest, the entrepreneurs will do. 

The benefit of the above are many folds; starting from more jobs created in the logistics industry to money being parked in UAE banks. Easier re-export rules by deferring customs duty will also provide a boost. This will also enable the local SMEs to generate more business and will boost business tourism. 

Should your business invest in a Mobile Application ?

In the midst of a pandemic, with still ongoing closures in half the world: the arguments for a mobile application are not difficult for your brand, but what are the figures behind it? Are there pitfalls for your brand along the way ?

Time spent on the phone:

According to Think with Google, the total time spent on phones in 2020 was 1.6 trillion hours, or 182 million years, or the entire population of Dubai spending every hour without sleep since reunification in 1971.

Key app categories:

The most popular app categories in 2020 were food distribution, games, online learning, entertainment, and shopping. The way we used to live has fundamentally changed, and that’s why the big companies that don’t change won’t be around in a few years.

Brand affinity:

Downloading a brand app is in itself an indication of affinity for the brand. Further app discounts could only be granted to customers in order to create incentives for downloading the application.

Progressive personality formation:

With the right app and privacy rules in place, brands can gather a lot of data around their customers by using the right platforms in the backend and ensuring that segmentation is automated.

Dynamic content and use of push notifications:

With the right customer data, app users can see personalized dynamic data, which will help increase basket size and overall sales. According to a report by Accenture, 91% of customers are more likely to buy from companies that remember them.

App-based retailers:

According to Think with Google, app users spend three times more than other mobile users. This is probably why every time you go to Amazon, there is an incentive to buy from their mobile app.

Special caveat:

Mobile applications work when the content is significant. Whether it’s the number of SKUs or just premium content for mobile devices. If you represent a brand with less SKUs and don’t have a regular replenishment date like soap, bread, etc., a mobile app will most likely never deliver you ROI. The costs associated with creating, managing, and marketing a mobile app are considerable and should be taken with significant budget commitments. Use the 80/20 rule; 20% for the build and 80% for the marketing.

eCommerce Sales Set to Explode in Holiday Season

With most of the year in lockdowns and work from home; people have “some dry powder” to spend this holiday season. We have already seen better November 2020 both in retail and eCommerce. Since, the data is more freely available in US and Europe; we believe the trends in GCC region will be fairly similar.

National Retail Foundation of USA; predicts that retail sales for the holiday season will increase by 3.6 to 5.2% which is a very welcome news; as most of the analysts predicted a drop. The great news is eCommerce sales are set to grow between 25% to 35% when compared to 2019 with different segments seeing different growth like:

Health and Beauty: 23%

Consumer Electronics: 20%

Fashion: 19%

Home Furnishing: 16%

With the ongoing second/third wave of COVID19; we expect consumers to forego the travel during this holiday season; and instead give gifts to substitute for time spent apart. For many preceding years; eCommerce holiday shopping has been hovering around 15% mark; this year it is expected to go well past the 25% growth.

When we look at the GCC region; people are a little more apprehensive about discretionary spending. With oil prices slumping people are feeling a bit on the edge. Saying this; we are confident that both Amazon and Noon; the eCommerce giants of the region did upwards of 25% growth during White Friday campaigns.

For brands; it is imperative to have eCommerce sites to own customer data and spending habits. This also ensures that in the long-term lifetime value of a customer is maximized. While if your eCommerce only includes marketplaces like Noon and Amazon; then get ready for some serious price wars. Centric works with brands and groups to launch eCommerce portals with digital experience engine; meaning different persona types will see different content. As CEO of Centric; Usman Khalid says; “In this COVID year; it is our duty to take the brands digital; for us its not another project but the question of survival of the brand”. He is of the view that any brand that does not has a solid eCommerce strategy; will not live to see the 2030.

How to Boost E-commerce Sales Through Content Marketing?

Ecommerce has been popular since the Dot-Com Boom of the 1990s where companies such as Amazon and eBay thrived to become some of the most recognizable names in the industry today. Although eCommerce services have gained popularity throughout the West,countries being America, the UK, Canada, and Australia, they are now famous in the Middle East in countries such as the UAE, Kuwait, and Bahrain. This reason is why so many startups are eCommerce based with many looking to mimic the success of Amazon. But boosting eCommerce sales is not as simple as just creating a good-looking website. The text, images, and videos on the site matter as much as the layout.

1. Invest in video content: 2019 is the year of video. Video content offers unique advantages such as a higher engagement rate and a greater chance of your content being shared across social media.However, for video content you need to keep some factors in mind. Your equipment, technology, and locations should be adequate. You need to be acquainted with the most popular categories of videos, E.G., tutorial,informational, etc. Only by utilising video properly, will more users be directed towards your site, therefore boosting eCommerce sales in the long run.

2. SEO: SEO is short for Search Engine Optimisation which is a process that affects the online awareness of your website or web page. Without knowledge of SEO in the 21st century, it is pointless launching an eCommerce site. SEO comprises of many activities with the most common being using proper keywords in articles, following an adequate word count, and using both inbound and outbound links. If you are a novice to SEO, you’re in luck as WordPress has many SEO plug-ins to make your journey much easier.Pick the correct social media channel:Selecting a proper social media channel is as important as the quality of your content. There are a lot of social media sites out there but some are more popular than others. Also keep in mind which site is best known for what type of content. For example, if you are aiming to promote text-based content then Instagram and Pinterest are the wrong choices as these sites cater towards picture-based content. Similarly, YouTube and Twitch complement video better than images.

3. Hire an expert: Managing your eCommerce website while also working on your online presence can be a mind-boggling task.Therefore, you should consider hiring a social media expert or an SEO professional. The fields of both social media and SEO have been optimised to the fullest in the 2010s, so it is recommended that you hire at least one of them to boost sales in the long term.Influencer marketing: Similar to hiring anSEO or social media expert is the concept of influencer marketing. Anin fluencer is a person in the online community (such as a YouTube content creator or celebrity) who has major influence in your line of work. For example, if you are a video game seller then having influencers such as PewDiePieand Angry Joe on your side is guaranteed to direct more potential customers to your website.

Types of Videos to Add in Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Video content is the way to go in 2019.Many social media managers have cited videos as having higher engagement rates than textual and pictorial content. But before you invest in video-making, you should be aware that there are different categories of videos that are uploaded online on a daily basis.

Informational Videos:

As the title suggests, these are videos made to give viewers information about a topic, product, or service. But giving information via video is not exactly like writing down information on a social media page. If your style of promoting info is tedious, then viewers will be turned off by your content. Aim to make these kinds of videos entertaining. Thus, adding a touch of humour goes a long way in informational video-making.

Tutorial Videos:

YouTube is one of the world’s most popular websites and is always on the Top 5 List of Alexa Sites in any country. So, social media marketers are bound to take a chance on YouTube somewhere along the line. If you’re new to YouTube then you should consider the advice of veteran content creators. Many prominent content creators site How To videos as one of the most commonly searched/watched categories on YouTube. Tutorial videos can be made regarding your products and services as well as on a wide range of topics. Make sure they are both entertaining and factual and not too long.

User-Generated Videos:

Social media is all about interaction. And there is no better form of interaction than requesting your customers to make videos for your brand on social media. One method is to offer a reward for the best video made on a topic of your choosing. This will bring together both loyal customers and new consumers. Remember to remind viewers to share their videos among friends and family members. Also, advise them to use hashtags when they post these videos on their respective social media profiles.

Behind The Scenes Videos:

Behind The Scenes comprises of showcasing the day-to-day activities of your company, interviews with staff, endorsements by loyal customers, etc. Why are behind the scenes videos so popular with viewers? It is because a normal promotional video only talks about the corporate identity of your brand, whereas behind the scenes footage allows customers to relate to your company in a more humanistic way.

Live Videos:

This category is one of the most popular options for video-based content in the 2010s. Live videos are not only more interactive as you can shoot a video and interact with viewers (via comments) simultaneously, but they allow you to surprise old and new customers alike with announcements. Keep in mind that the location should be adequate, the equipment and technology should be up-to-date, and the message should be clear and concise. Facebook and YouTube are the most popular options for live video sharing.

Calculate Your Influencer Marketing ROI in 5 Steps

Many companies prefer using influencer marketing so they allocate a majority of their budget to it. Influencer marketing is a form of online marketing; utilizing prominent members of the online community (bloggers, vloggers, celebrities, etc.) who can use their viewer-base to promote the company. It is one of the most common types of internet advertising in the 21st century. However, even if the majority of businesses prefer this method of marketing, they would still want to know the Return on Investment (ROI) regarding this technique. In this article, we will guide you through 5 Steps to Calculate your Influencer Marketing ROI.

1. Compare your influencers:

After selecting the influencers you will ultimately use, the next step is to compare and contrast their performance levels. Firstly, review the performance of the influencers at the beginning of their respective campaigns.Secondly, take each influencer’s rate of post engagements and measure them against each other. If you design a custom URL for each influencer, you can track the traffic from each of their domains. Overall, comparing your influencers allows you to choose which ones to use for your next fiscal year,and which ones to let go.

2. Select the influencer tracking program:

Manually tracking your influencers’ campaign ROI can be a burden, so why not try out an easy-to-use program instead? There are a number of ROI tracking programs available on the net. Grin is a popular program which besides tracking an impressive list of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), also gives you the perk of breaking down the performance of each influencer and piece of content based on similar KPIs. TapInfluence is another popular choice where you can analyze ROI in real time. The performance of each influencer can be tracked via reach, ROI, engagement, etc. Industry benchmarks can also be accessed using this program. NeoReach is another program which offers a real-time tracking mechanism. An added advantage is the capacity to measure the performance levels of your influencers and even your comprehensive campaign.

3. Create aims and performance metrics for separate influencers:

Even after selecting the best influencers in the business, it is not possible for each and every influencer to contribute to your ROI in the same way. This is why you should match your campaign aims with individual influencer goals. One example would be to raise the awareness of your company’s main website. Therefore, a separate influencer aim would be to complete that goal in a specific amount of time. Individual influencer metrics include, but are not limited to, revenue, conversions to customers, and average engagement rate.

4. Outline campaign aims to track ROI accurately:

Not only will this let you know what your company wants, it would also help in finding those influencers who best complement your business’s aims. Common aims include raising brand awareness and enhancing sales, but you should also explore more unique goals for the long term.

5. Set metrics to measure your campaign’s performance level:

Common metrics comprise of being realistic and being achievable. If you are confused about which metrics to choose, simply examine which metrics are frequently being utilised by other marketers. Popular options include clicks, impressions, and conversions.

Google has introduced a new way for Android developers to supplement their earnings

Mobile phones offer a lot of services. From texting and calling to music and video playing compatibility, you won’t get bored if you are using the latest mobile phone. The finest innovation in regards to mobile technology is applications (apps). These range from the simple (games, ebook readers, etc.) to the essential (email, banking apps,etc.). The chores that you used to do physically or on a PC can be done from the convenience of your fingertips.

If you are utilising an Apple phone, then you can download apps from Apple Store. However, if you are using an Android mobile device, then apps can be downloaded from Google Play. Some apps are free while others cost money but that doesn’t change the fact that the demand for app developers worldwide is at an all-time high.

However, sometimes developers can face hardships in regards to their earnings. Nevertheless, Google has introduced a new way for Android developers to supplement their earnings. Contrary to popular belief, this latest method is not related to subscriptions. Rewarded Products is the new monetization option for apps.

This will permit non-monetary app users to contribute to an app’s money making process not monetarily but based on time. Rewarded video will be the initial product. Here, users can choose to watch a video in exchange for in-game currency and other advantages.

This feature might satisfy developers, but the reception depends mostly on the users. How videos will be showcased in the app will be a reliable factor in judging the success rate for Rewarded video.

People are not as averse to ads which show up at the start of a video or a game—but most of them abhor ads which play in the middle of a video or a game. In addition, the ads will a full-screen advantage of the game being played. So, unless the ad features an “offer you can’t refuse” type of deal, the chances of it synchronizing with users are slim.

Nevertheless, rewarded video has worked for people who wish to obtain unique items such as free-to-play games where subscribing is voluntary and not mandatory.

For example, Pandora’s ad-based and radio-only music streaming service was free for many years. Lately, it has introduced Rewarded video in order to compete with Spotify. Thus, instead of paying for a monthly subscription, Pandora users can opt to view a video ad to access on-demand music for a specific time period.

This latest method of supplementing incomes comes at the same time as Apple’s success with their subscription techniques. Apple Store’s downloads are two times that of Google Play’s. Rewarded products seems like the best way to increase motivation for better quality apps from developers due to an increased opportunity of getting paid. The rewarded video product is available to developers in the Play Console, and it is currently launching into open beta, as per Google’s comments.

Get a closer look at the Samsung Galaxy Fold

Mobile devices have gone from being primarily used as a means of communication to being utilised for a variety of services. Gaming, music, video playing, texting, the internet, you name it!Anything that you can do with a high-end laptop can now be done with the latest mobile device. The day and age of traditional phones is long over. Nokia is no longer the reigning champion of mobile technology. It has been replaced by big names such as Apple, LG, Huawei, and Samsung.

Although, the afore-mentioned Samsung started as a trading company in 1938, it has gone on to become one of the world’s leading electronics companies especially due to its innovations regarding smartphones. One of the South Korean company’s latest innovations is the Samsung Galaxy Fold—a soon-to-be released foldable Android mobile device. Despite this device being foldable, it is not the first of its type to feature a flexible design, with foldable smartphones being available in the market since 2008. Nevertheless, the Samsung Galaxy Fold brings other desirable features to the fore.

The Samsung Galaxy Fold is an all-purpose, two-in-one device. Its best aspect is that it can be fully utilized on the go. E.g., you are on a long distance drive and you wish to check your email as well as social media platform at the same time. Perhaps listen to some music on the way? You can operate three apps at the same time with the Samsung Galaxy Fold, offering you an easy-to-use interface from the comfort of your fingertips. Instead of separately using the car’s interactive platform for audio services, you can simply control it using the Samsung Galaxy Fold.

What will be highly attractive to potential consumers is the 7.3 inch touchscreen that comes with the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Video playing and gaming will be optimised to the maximum. And with major game developers putting their all into mobile platform games, it will be a joy to play smartphone games on the Galaxy Fold’s gigantic screen display. Mobile gaming has become so popular that PUBG (released in 2017) has become one of the most download and most played games in the world as of 2019. So, you’ll have the finest experience playing PUBG or any other game on the Samsung Galaxy Fold.

But that’s not all. The Samsung Galaxy Fold comes in two screens. A 4.6 inch screen is designed for one-handed usage while the full screen size amounts to 7.3 inches. Safety is guaranteed as there is a fingerprint scanner located on its power up button. The operating softwares installed on the Galaxy Fold include the Android 9.0 Pie and One UI. The Samsung Galaxy Fold’s US release date is April 26, 2019. And it is scheduled to release in the UK on May 3, 2019.

App Store Optimization

As a marketer; you have built the mobile app for your brand and uploaded it into stores. It is now time to market the app to your target market. But wait! If you prioritize Search Engine Optimization (SEO) then why do you think your developer (in around 80% cases) is the best person to write the description of your Mobile App as well as upload the images. There are around 5.4 million apps across Google and Apple Online Stores and we know that 10% of global app traffic comes from Middle-East and North Africa (MENA) region. With stores crowded there are ways to differentiate your app from others; and App Store Optimization or ASO does exactly that. It is imperative that you look for Virality and Stickiness of your mobile application to gauge the success. But it is also extremely important to have more apps install organically. As the below graph shows; 50% app installs (iOS) happen by “Virality” but there are 63% installs that you need from app store searches. internet_engine_updated So how do you make sure that your app gets downloaded organically as well? The key here is continuous and complex data analysis. Choose the right agency that will delve deep into search trends of the App Stores and Keywords. Some of the areas that Centric looks at while advising clients for Application Search Optimization (ASO) are following: search_pic As with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), ASO is forever changing and new trends appear continuously. Moreover, competition is also very stiff and evolving,  backlinks and uninstalls require patience, time and strategy to counter it. Centric is a 360-degree integrated digital agency and is offering ASO services to multiple known brand names within the region and beyond.