2011 Middle East Trends
The spate of 2011 prediction articles that have been rolling out to mark the New Year make for some enjoyable reading. Below are some links to trends I’ve found particularly interesting. Of course, I couldn’t resist throwing in three of my own about the Middle East so here they are…
Social buying heats up (more) in Middle East
In an already crowded field including GoNabit.com and Cobone.com, the granddaddy of social buying sites, Groupon, has recently launched a UAE site at Groupon.ae. A new site, Offerena.com, will also be getting into the act in Egypt and already there are at least 10 other competitors. Fresh off turning down a reported $6 billion offer from Google, Groupon’s entrance into the market means we’re likely to see even more competition as businesses embrace these sites. Good for consumers. Good for companies. Good for the Middle East. Win win win.
Don’t forget about Google
While Facebook’s $50 billion valuation recently made waves, Google can’t be ignored. From a Middle East perspective, this is undoubtedly true. Their “Health Speaks ”campaign through Google.org is just one example of their commitment to building Arabic content and with their announcement that they plan to open 2-3 new MENA offices this year, their commitment to the region is clear. With digital advertising set to grow even more in the Middle East in both Arabic and English, Google is going to be blazing a trail in the region that others are sure to follow.
Start learning Arabic
Twitter announced it would be developing an Arabic interface in 2011, which will help fuel increased Twitter growth in the region. Carrington Malin points out that Facebook has added 5.7 million Arabic users since its Arabic interface launched in 2009, and that figure is likely to continue growing at a healthy clip. The increased importance of Arabic on social networks as well as on websites means more opportunities to develop Arabic content, advertise and market to the Arabic-speaking online population.
So there’s a few trends that I’ve been thinking about, but I’d encourage you to check out a few more interesting 2011 trend predictions below. We’ll be sure to stay tuned in January 2012 to see which ones pan out.
2011 Digital & Technology Predictions
Our colleagues in the USA have put togeher 11 digital trends to watch in 2011, including “Google Strikes Back.”
He discusses the march of Facebook toward ever increasing ubiquity, as well as the challenges and opportunities this presents to companies.
Carrington Malin in Mideastposts.com
A good look at some Middle East Specific trends including broadband adoption, mobile apps, tablets, online shopping and opportunities to grow Arabic content online and on Facebook.
100 Things to Watch in 2011 at SlideShare.net
Interesting predictions — one I’ll be keeping tabs on is #56, “Near Field Communication.”
Have other predictions for 2011 in the Middle East? We’d love to hear them so feel free to chime in.