The survey of the trend of "near me" searches in the UAE

Many businesses have an official website where it is possible to explore the products or services. But only 9% of consumer buying in UAE still happens online, 2% of shoppers make a purchase using the phone and 84% prefer offline shopping, i.e. to visit a store (*Intersecting data according to Google Consumer Barometer).

Look at these stats:

  • more than 90% of consumers buy within 20 miles;
  • mobile makes up 88% of all "near me" searches, with those mobile searches growing at 146% year over year.

Today every search for goods and services has local intent — even if a user doesn't specify the search area (for ex. "buy glasses" or "bakery nearby"), the SERP will be relevant to the user's location. So, the map with pins on goes to a priority position.
People search locally: missing company listings means smaller consumer reach

It goes without saying that today people want to buy nearby, they use the Internet to know how to connect with a business right now, to find local information and customers' reviews.

According to Google Consumer Barometer, 70% of UAE shoppers use a search engine to find local information (Local Pack contains relevant results ), 30% — maps and navigation services, 26% — online business directories, 20% — GPS (in-car and handheld), 16% — review sites. And only 22% of users visit the brand website to clarify the address or direction. *Intersecting data

This data confirms that the omnichannel users look for goods, services or places wherever it suits them at the moment. That is why the basis of an effective marketing strategy for any local business is "to be nearby with the customer" everywhere he/she is looking for.

Brick-and-mortar companies can get incredible benefits just by submitting business information to the maps and other sources working with local search. It is extremely important today when a search engine can interpret requests like "the nearest shoe repair" and provide the results as pins on the map according to the user's location.

A good example that clarifies the statement above is a search for a "gas station nearby". The desired result most likely will not get on the first few pages of the SERP because of high competition on target queries. Thus, potential clients will not be able to find it.

The map will offer relevant results based on a person's geo-location. The nearest is five kilometers away. However, there is indeed something closer. But the business owner didn't submit the company's information to the map (i.e. didn't create a listing), so gas station turned out to be "invisible" to a potential client.
That is why for local business it is extremely important to work with locations: submit business data to the listing network, and create citations by adding the information to the maps, navigators, online directories, social networks, and other sources. Also, location management implies the updating of the information, monitoring if the data are correct, rejecting attempts to change them, and using local SEO to improve ranking position.

Even compared to the sites at the top of the SERP, the map gives advantages due to a higher conversion rate:

  • 44% of users click one of the companies listed in the Local Pack (top-3);
  • 8% of users view "More places";
  • 29% of users explore the SERP;
  • 19% of users click paid ads.
As the survey results prove, organic SEO and paid advertising for local businesses (such as local stores, cafes, bank branches, gas stations, plumbers, etc.) are not able to generate traffic so effectively as maps can.

To provide traffic and leads, and to convert users into real customers it is much more efficient to get into the Local Pack.

Because of this, the creation of location-based business accounts on the maps and other relevant sources should be the most important part of your marketing strategy.

The trend of "near me" searches

Another significant trend that also affects the success and profitability of a business is "near me" searches. So, consumer queries have become more conversational and this requires companies to optimize their listings more accurately.

According to Google (2018, May), "near me" mobile searches that contain the term like "can I buy" or "to buy" have grown by more than 500% over the past two years. Moreover, there has been a 900%+ growth in mobile searches for "…near me today/tonight" (for example, "open mexican restaurant near me today", "cheap hotels near me tonight").
The trend of "near me" searches in UAE over the past five years
Thus, for consumers, searching is not just about finding a product or service anymore. It is about finding a specific thing within the area ("nearby") at a certain time.

And finally the statistics that demonstrate the correlation of researching online and buying offline are as follows: 76% of people who search on their mobile for something nearby (local stores or services) visit a place found in the search within a day, and 28% of those searches result in a purchase.

So, if you want to target consumers more effectively, you should work with your listings properly: to add the data to the missing sources, update the existing citations on the web, optimize in order to rank higher on generic local searches.

If you want customers to find your business locations, not your competitors, use the power of a global trend: make your listings more "visible" by responding to thousands of user requests. Tools and opportunities of listing management service make local marketing simple, and digital presence — efficient.

Get a free report on the online-presence of your locations.

Find out where you don't have listings, where the data is incomplete or mistaken