27 May 2024 10:22

Advertising & Marketing

GCC Search Trends

KSA and UAE register largest online search increase for seafood, placing it in pole position of food protein searches

Online search volumes during the last three years have revealed a strong demand for seafood across the Gulf region, according to recent data by SEMrush, the leading online digital marketing suite.

Results show that the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia both witnessed giant increases in online search for the term “seafood” compared to three years ago, making seafood the fastest growing food protein being searched for online in the GCC. The KSA’s online search for this term led the region’s growth, registering an 820 per cent increase, while UAE search-es for the same increased 170 per cent.

The revelation was based on data compiled by SEMrush’s digital marketing tools that cov-ered search volume for food protein terms like fish, beef, chicken, lamb and seafood be-tween 2015 and 2018. During the same period in the UAE search terms beef, chicken and lamb all grew by 50 per cent.  As for Saudi Arabia in the same period, lamb and chicken reg-istered 22 per cent growth and beef 125 per cent.

“As marketers analyse such increases in search trends in the GCC, they can start to under-stand the scale of the business opportunity and target the right markets. Simultaneously, such online data will make the seafood industry aware of the need for sustainable approach-es to harvesting the sea, which is estimated to be worth $300 million annually in the GCC,” commented Adam Zeidan, Corporate Communications Manager for MENA region at SEMrush.

Numerous reports on GCC fish consumption have been published by bodies like the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO) that complement the trend seen in GCC online search related to this sector.

UNFAO estimates put the GCC’s per capita average consumption of meat at between 60-70 kilograms a year, with fish consumption between 10-20 kgs.

“On the surface it appears that meat is much more preferred than seafood, however we should also factor in that GCC demand for seafood is higher than supply,” Zeidan added.

The UN body also estimated that the GCC fishing industry produces 392,000 tonnes of fish per year. Compare this figure with the forecast that by 2030, fish consumption in the UAE alone is predicted to cross the 900,000-tonne barrier GCC’s demand for fresh fish products from local, regional and global fish suppliers is expected to grow by eight per cent annually until 2030. 

Fifty-five per cent of Oman’s fish exports headed to the UAE last year a report from the Omani National Centre for Statistics and Information confirmed. 

Several GCC fish farming initiatives have been announced in recent years to help domestic fish production meet rising regional demand, however the reliance on imports will remain for a time.

“We can expect more seafood brands to emerge to compete in a GCC region that is also in-creasingly searching for information on seafood products online. The winners will be those who develop sustainable practices as well as brands that optimise their marketing with digital tools that better analyse consumer lifestyle and dietary preferences,” added Zeidan.

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