Dammam, Asharq Al-Awsat- When it comes to interest in general economic-related issues, Saudis ranked first in the region amongst Arab internet users.
According to Google Trends, an online services that charts how often a particular search term is entered relative the total search volume across various regions of the world, and in various languages, Saudi Arabia is the leading Arab nation when it comes to online searches dealing with the stock market, market trends and real-estate within the last ten month period.
Despite the fact the unemployment in the kingdom dropped by 1.4 percent this year, Saudis also ranked first in their online searches for unemployment and job recruitment websites, particularly in Mecca which came first in terms of the number of navigators searching unemployment-related websites.
However, when it came to searches relating to the current global financial crisis, internet users in Saudi Arabia were ranked at eighth place in comparison to their fellow Arabs in the region, with Syria ranked first, followed by Yemen, Algeria, Palestine, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt respectively. The majority of Saudis searching the web for information relating to the global financial crisis were based in the kingdom’s capital Riyadh.
Najwa al Faraj, a sociologist at Riyadh’s military hospital, believes that the rise in number of Saudi Internet users concerned with economic issues is an indicator in the rise of public awareness, more specifically among the kingdom’s youth who use the internet the most. And because of the global recession and the subsequent impact, the crisis stimulated large masses to research and attempt to understand the economic status-quo and its ramifications.
Al Faraj went on to say that the Hysteria and rumors tied to the financial crisis and the rise of inflation has had a negative impact on people’s lives.
She added that many of these internet users have been affected this year or know of someone that has been directly affected by the soaring prices, causing them to search of answers for the intermingled economic crisis.
A government study on internet usage in the kingdom published last September revealed that Google was the search engine of choice for most Saudis with 83 percent, while the Yahoo search engine was a distance second with only 13 percent and according to the study was mostly popular with Asian laborers and users that fall in the lower-income bracket.