COVID-19 and the business sentiment

July 20, 2021

It is safe to say, the world did not see a pandemic coming and businesses were hit by a heavy storm. An economic crisis is still ongoing which has both caused a recession in some nations and in others a depression. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. A challenging period for businesses saw losses of jobs, revenue and lots of negativity across the community; but, as of recent things have been changing. Sentiment across the region has started to turn positive. Here’s a look at KSA and UAE’s business sentiment across the COVID-19 period.

The Problem

As of March 2020, most of the world had entered an emergency phase with the quick spread of the pandemic at a large-scale. The virus gave businesses no time to plan, this continuously changing situation gave markets no option but to adapt quickly. Lockdowns forced most businesses to turn their operations online and with that the economy is seeing changes too. 

The concerns of businesses had been voiced publicly and while things are getting better, we thought it would be interesting to learn more on what the public thinks. 

We took all our economy-related enquiries to Sila, our data warehouse tool to learn more on what people thought about the whole situation. 

The Mentions

On average, 40,000 tweets mentioning business were published across the year, with peaks between May and July 2020. The same period was the most active for mentions of the economy with an average of 4,000 tweets per month only in the UAE.

UAE mentions of Business
UAE mentions of Business

 

UAE mentions of economy
UAE mentions of economy

Interestingly, on the other hand, KSA had less mentions of business with an average of 17K tweets, with peaks in April and the period between June and August. Notably, there was a big dip on mentions in May. Furthermore, mentions of the economy were higher than the UAE, with an average of 4,500 tweets per month.  

KSA mentions of business
KSA mentions of business

All in all, 70-90% of all tweets mentioning economy and business in both the UAE and KSA posted between March and August had mentions of COVID-19. August onwards, that percentage has dropped to 50%. 

The Sentiment

We always are curious about what the audience thinks. As a creative consulting agency that uses audience-first analysis to work with our brands, it makes the most sense to next analyse the sentiment of these tweets. 

The UAE, has recently lifted restrictions. With life gradually going back to normal, students are back to schools, employees back at work and entertainment venues back in action, businesses have started their recovery stages.

Overall, negative sentiment towards business is at an all time high with 98% of all tweets posted in 2020. However, this has been changing as of recent.

15th of June 2020, marked the highest negativity rate, but 20th of October marked the lowest negativity rate since the end of August. Since the beginning of September, results have been promising. The negativity rate has been dropping drastically allowing for a more positive business community. As of October 2020, negative sentiment is at 61% with a total of 4,014 negative tweets and 2,435 positive tweets. This is a huge improvement when compared to 41,827 negative tweets and 83 positive tweets posted on the 15th of June. 

UAE business sentiment percentage
UAE business sentiment percentage

 

UAE business sentiment
UAE business sentiment

 

On the other hand is the KSA market, which although has restrictions lifted is not as free as the UAE. Keeping in mind that airports are yet to go back into operation and with international trade being hit massively, the KSA market remains quite negative.

Overall, 98.47% of all tweets about business are negative, with a peak on the 30th of May – 19,487 negative vs 59 positive tweets. While things are improving, the sentiment still remains mostly negative. Users remain pessimistic, only 15% of all business tweets posted on the 20th of October were positive. 

KSA business sentiment percentage
KSA business sentiment percentage
KSA business sentiment
KSA business sentiment

 

The Solution

As a creative consulting agency, and upon understanding the needs of the market. As things slowly improve, people are slowly starting to become optimistic. With optimism towards business, investments will start to increase. Banks, real estate and eventually tourism will start to grow. We identify the upcoming period as the best time for companies to advertise their products leading with a positive message. 

As positivity is starting to spread across the GCC, a positive business message would help reach audiences and generate leads. 

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