Localization in the UAE

Localization for Marketing in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is already a large online market and is only going to keep growing. With estimates putting internet users in the UAE at well over 9 million (or more than 94% of the population) the statistics cannot be ignored. This section of the Middle East is a viable market that all expanding businesses should aim to tap into.

Localization for Arab Countries

Adapting a website and digital content is more than just translating into the local language, as is the case with any new market. The Arab countries, although greatly influenced by Western cultures, still hold on strongly to their own sets of beliefs. Rooted in Islamism and tribal culture, the people in these regions live by their own rules and systems. So, it is only by understanding the local traditions that online content can really be effectively localized.

Tips for Localization for the UAE Market

Within the UAE there are seven Emirates – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm Al Quwain. And, among the seven Emirates, there are certain differences. For example, Abu Dhabi and Dubai have a larger population of expats from western countries and have been influenced by western culture more than the others. However, even in these two Emirates, local traditions are still followed. So, here’s what to keep in mind when localizing for the UAE.

  • The Language – One big advantage that many western countries have when marketing to the UAE is that many people, especially those belonging to the upper classes, read and speak English. However, to truly appeal to the wider population it is better to adapt to the local language. Arabic is the commonly spoken tongue although different regions have different dialects. The type of Arabic used will depend on the market being targeted.
  • The Culture – To localize content for the UAE countries, marketing campaigns need to be structured to appeal to their societies. The UAE is predominantly a male-dominated culture. When it comes to making large purchases, most of the decision making resides with the male members of the family. While more and more women are shopping online, understanding the culture will enable you to know which products can be marketed directly to them.
  • The Traditions Islamism has a strong influence on the local traditions and being sensitive to them will benefit your marketing efforts. For instance, the holy month of Ramadan is kept sacred with the local population fasting from dawn till dusk. Also, by religious law, certain products are prohibited in the UAE. Therefore, it’s important to do the necessary research to make sure no religious sentiments will be offended by your marketing campaigns or your products.
  • Economic Status – The majority of internet users in the UAE are high-value customers. This means that they not only spend a good deal of money but also expect high value in return. High-end, quality products are always in demand, but, on the other hand, everyone does like a good bargain. Localizing prices to suit the market and compete with local brands will help you get your product noticed.

Why Use Localize?

When marketing in the UAE, it’s not just important to take note of the language, cultures, and traditions. You also need to test your localized website with a sample audience to understand how it appeals (or not) to the local population. Designs also have to be adapted to suit the Arabic script that is written from right to left, and images need to be placed accordingly. Localize has the experience and expertise to make sure that a site localized for a UAE audience is politically correct, aesthetically appealing, and search engine optimized. So talk to us to see how we can help you to successfully localize for the UAE.