United Arab Emirates

Our Navigator research provides you with valuable insights and opinions from businesses around the world. As part of that research, we asked more than 10,000 business decision-makers across 39 markets, countries and territories to tell us how the current crisis has affected them and changed their plans for the near to mid-term future.



An export-orientated services sector as well as a large travel and tourism sector made the initial impact of COVID-19 particularly tough for the UAE. However, there are few nations in the world as adept at successful long-term change. By the time our 2020 Navigator survey went live, economic activity had already started to recover. A country built on an ambitious vision of the future is a natural home for the dynamism that will characterise the most effective rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic.


Our 2020 Navigator survey results suggest a positive outlook for UAE businesses

The difficult conditions of this year haven’t dampened the mood among UAE businesses. Most have adapted to the changing environment, and while optimism has dipped since 2019, companies are still more optimistic than the global average. More than three quarters are also projecting growth in the coming year, though at a lower level than in 2019.

This bright outlook extends to international trade, where UAE companies remain more positive than businesses globally. That’s despite many thinking that international trade has become more difficult and seeing further challenges over the next year.

Businesses in the UAE plan to use various strategies to drive growth, including strengthening their supply chain, improving the customer experience and making efficiencies through technology. Becoming more sustainable will also help them grow.

Current status of business

  UAE Global
Surviving day-to-day 22% 19%
Adapting to a changing environment 59% 58%
Thriving in the new normal 19% 24%