In a joint study between "Economy and Tourism" and "Visa"

Digital capabilities in Dubai are the most prominent driver of small business recovery during “Covid 19”

  • Mobile payments continue to attract new users.

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The Department of Economy and Tourism in Dubai revealed a new study that it conducted in partnership with the Visa Institute for Economic Empowerment, with the aim of assessing the resilience of small businesses in Dubai during the outbreak of the “Covid-19” pandemic, which included a research paper entitled: “Micro, small and medium companies in Dubai. .Digital Technologies and Resilience.”

digital capabilities

The research paper highlighted the results of a survey that included more than 900 micro, small and medium companies in Dubai, which showed that digital capabilities include: accepting digital payments, expanding the use of social networks, messaging applications, e-stores, and the ability to access markets. New;

Elements that collectively represent the most prominent driver of the recovery of micro, small and medium companies, and enhance their resilience in facing challenges.

"Payment without a card"

The study investigated the conditions of companies that accept the "Cardless Payment" (CNP) model, and considered it an indicator of their activity in the e-commerce space.

As for all companies in Dubai, the percentage of applying this model increased from 8% in July 2019 to 13% in August 2021, to witness a growth rate of 60%.

At the level of small companies, the percentage increased from 7% to 12% during the same period, an increase of 70%, which resulted in a record increase of 83% year-on-year in the number of e-commerce licenses issued in Dubai during the first half of 2020.

competitive system

Abdul Basit Al Janahi, Executive Director of the Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for Small and Medium Enterprises Development, one of the institutions of the Department of Economy and Tourism in Dubai, said that small and medium companies in Dubai enjoy many advantages, as the emirate adopts a competitive and ideal system for these companies to adapt, noting that the pandemic has shown its flexibility. And its ability to withstand its repercussions.

He added: "The results of the study prepared by the department and the institute confirm that digital capabilities are a key element to maintain the growth of the performance of small and medium-sized companies."

Traders' optimism

For her part, the Regional Director and Senior Vice President of Visa Group in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Dr. Saida Jaafar, said: “The pandemic and the accompanying economic crisis have cast a shadow over all businesses worldwide, causing unprecedented repercussions, at a time when micro-enterprises have suffered. From these exceptional circumstances more than others, so the optimism expressed by merchants in Dubai about the recovery and growth of their business was a very encouraging indicator, and this optimism was more prominent among merchants who adopted digital commerce technologies.”

She added, "The Dubai government has spared no effort to develop the digital infrastructure that supports remote operations, and digital business models for micro, small and medium companies to keep pace with the necessities of the (new reality) imposed by the pandemic."

Results

According to the study, the majority of MSMEs in Dubai witnessed growth in 2020, with 43% of the companies participating in the study reporting positive revenue growth during 2020.

The study showed that larger companies performed better in 2020 compared to smaller companies, at a time when it was no surprise to see companies that experienced the fastest revenue growth in 2020 optimistic about achieving growth in 2021.

Affected areas

The most prominent repercussions of “Covid-19” on business are: the effects on the volume of sales, and employment opportunities, as the rates of local and international sales and purchases, the size of dealer bases and employment for the majority of micro, small and medium companies in Dubai were the areas most affected by the pandemic.

New Payment Technologies

According to the study, micro, small and medium enterprises have adopted new payment technologies during the pandemic, as they have shifted towards digital payments, and have dispensed with cash and check payments.

She explained that although the majority of companies of all categories and sizes continue to accept cash payments, payments via mobile phones, QR codes, cardless payment service providers for e-commerce platforms, and other new payment technologies and mechanisms continue to attract new users. compared to levels before the pandemic.

In a remarkable development, an increasing number of medium-sized companies have reported accepting payments via mobile phones more than “cash” in local transactions.

Micro, small and medium enterprises have also expanded their use of social networks, messaging applications, and online stores.

Key priorities for small businesses

The main priorities identified by micro, small and medium companies to continue their recovery from the consequences of the pandemic are: restoring dealers, then diversifying their products and services, exporting to new markets, and digitizing sales channels.

Obtaining loans and grants has not been among the main priorities of companies that sell their products and services online.

Nor was it surprising to see digital vendors put cybersecurity at the top of their list of priorities.

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