Over half of the 1000 people surveyed said they used a search engine to search for product information, and almost half of all online research for products such as bank accounts and personal loans start from search engines.
However, when it comes to actually purchasing finance products, the study showed most UAE consumers prefer to buy offline, with each respondent having only bought an average of 1.2 finance products in the previous 24 months.
In terms of online banking, the internet is becoming a popular channel for processing banking transactions, with 40% of respondents engaging in at least one online banking transaction on a monthly basis.
Paying bills, transferring money and monitoring account balances and transactions are the most popular online banking activities. The study showed the vast majority of users access their online banking system via stationary internet, whilst nearly 30% report using a mobile device.
“The stats show that the MENA region is a fast emerging market with the searches per day showing a growth rate of 25% year on year, with the UAE among the fastest countries in search activity. The results of this study along with the trends of search activity in the UAE should urge companies in the finance and banking industry to enhance their presence on search engines to provide their customers with the most relevant information about their products,” said Mohamad Mourad, Google Gulf regional manager.
“The pace of innovation in search continues to accelerate and today, we’re making serious strides towards a knowledge engine. More engineers are working on search today than at any time in the past to achieve our goal to help people convert data and information into knowledge,” he added.
The research was undertaken by market research company TNS MEA, which targeted decision makers and influencers for the purchase or research of financial products.