UAE and Saudi Arabia register largest online search increase for seafood.
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 an online digital marketing suite.
Results show that the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia both witnessed an increase in online search for the term seafood as compared to three years ago, making seafood the fasest growing food protein being searched for online in the GCC. Saudi Arabia’s online search for this term led the region’s growth, registering an 820% increase, while UAE searches for the same increased by 170%
The revelation was based on data compiled by SEMrush’s digital marketing tools that covered search volume for food protein terms like fish, beef, chicken, lamb, and seafood between 2015 and 2018. During the same period in the UAE, search terms beef, chicken, and lamb all grew by 50%. As for Saudi Arabia in the same period, lamb and chicken registered a 22% growth and beef 125%.
“As marketers analyse such increases in search trends in the GCC, they can start to understand 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 approaches to harvest in 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.
UNFAO estimates put the GCC’s per capita average consumption of meat at between 60-70kg a year, with fish consumption between 10-20kg.
“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 and the GCC’s demand for fresh fish products from local, regional, and global fish suppliers is expected to grow by eight% annually until 2030.
55% 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.
“We can expect more seafood brands to emerge to compete in the GCC region. 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.