Young Emirati men with their smartphones in Sharjah. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: There may be no getting away from apps, but UAE users are yet to forge a deep emotional tie-in with them. Or at least to the extent they have done with automotive or tech brands.

So says the latest ‘UAE Brand Intimacy 2018 Report’ from MBLM.

Among apps, Skype and WhatsApp were the most prominent, followed by Google Maps and Facebook. The remaining names in the Top 10 app brand include Uber, Snapchat, Instagram, Zomato, Deliveroo and Twitter.

Skype not only performed across all demographics, but had a particularly strong connect among women in the UAE, “who believe it is an essential part of their lives”, the report finds.

“It is likely that the brand’s level of intimacy will decrease if the ban extends throughout the year.”

WhatsApp had its highest ranking among men, measuring to be “162 per cent more essential to its users’ daily lives than the industry average [and this] suggests that the brand is ingrained into the consumer’s daily actions beyond habitual behaviour.”

“Methods of communications need to be adapted to the speed of the local economy,” noted William Shintani, managing partner of MBLM Dubai. “A city like Dubai evolves at a speed much faster than many places in the world — think innovation, infrastructure, place-making — and with initiatives like Smart Dubai and the Happiness Agenda, apps that facilitate instant connectivity and opportunity perform well across personal and professional spheres.”

But for a second straight year, apps and social platforms “struggled to create intimate bonds”, according to the report.

Facebook was the most intimate brand among millennials (of ages 18 to 34 years), even as its popularity grew among older users.

This year’s report analysed responses from 6,000 consumers and 54,000 brand evaluations across 15 industries in the US, Mexico and the UAE.

MBLM’s reports and interactive Brand Ranking Tool showcase the performance of almost 400 brands, revealing the characteristics and intensity of consumer bonds.