Top 3 Startup Trends in the UAE – 2021 Edition

By Reshma R Sharunlal

When it comes to identifying trends across a specific sector or job industry, many businesses would study possible changes expected to take place earlier during the year. However, with the pandemic’s wavering uncertainties, studying market and business trends can be a slightly more daunting task than usual. 

With that being said, in this article, we will be looking at the top 3 startup trends currently being seen on the rise and those that are expected to stay and grow in the UAE for the year of 2021. 

The changes that were expected to take place over the span of years were suddenly seen taking effect over the matter of a few days. For some businesses, this adaptation was also seen happening overnight. 

Some firms had to decide between choosing to upskill or to cease all of their operations at once. As such, some of the toughest business decisions were made during this time too. Perhaps, one group of businesses that was largely and badly hit was that of startups. 

Governments of certain countries extended various job schemes to support struggling firms. Some even offered additional support for startup companies too. Despite the challenging times, startup businesses continue to strive through with displays of excellence and resilience in their work. 

When moving ahead collectively during this time, what are the top 3 startup trends in the UAE? Keep reading to find out 🙂

A word of caution before we delve into the article: the following mentioned startup trends are information that has been generally observed across the sector. They may be instances in which specific trends may not match what was expected for a specific firm or industry. 

As such, this written piece aims to function as a guide and should not be read as a comprehensive or exhaustive list of startup trends in the UAE! The best way to find out what may work for your firm’s success would be by conducting ample research. Browsing through this article could function as the first step you take into exploring anticipated startup trends in the UAE. 

Without further ado, let’s get right into the article!

Top 3 Startup Trends in the UAE 

  1. Digitisation is a key trend.

With the pandemic forcing many businesses to find alternative ways to continue operations, efforts to explore how digitisation can add value to a firm were seen taking the front seat. 

Many employers decided to let their staff work from home or work remotely as coming to the office posed a health hazard. Some went the extra mile to provide their employees with relevant tech equipment so that staff could set up a simple home office to work from. 

Numerous companies were also seen taking their business online through the creation and boost of marketing efforts via social media platforms, a business site or the creation of a mobile app. 

This allowed them the opportunity to remain in contact with their customer base while preventing the case of revenue loss from hitting their business as a result of such an unforeseen circumstance. 

Some businesses also tapped on the power of digital advancements to convert the purpose of their business during the global pandemic. For instance, a consumer electronic company named Razer Inc., converted their gaming-focused services to manufacture surgical masks that may be used by the general public during the epidemic. 

When the world was witnessing a shortage in relation to the production of masks, Razer combined innovation with digitisation to meet the needs of the people. That’s one way the startup trend of digitisation was used for the greater good. 

  1. FinTech is the new normal.

FinTech has been a buzzword in the global startup scene for a while now. While some firms have been wary of this innovation, others have embraced it right from the beginning. 

However, with the pandemic and its accompanying change in laws and regulations across the globe, FinTech is becoming the new normal and one of the top 3 startup trends in the UAE. 

One key way this trend had taken effect in the UAE was through its introduction and establishment of digital payment methods. Numerous businesses were seen exploring cashless payment channels and this included making mobile wallets, contactless payment systems associated with credit and debit cards, etc. 

During these challenging times where health safety is placed as everyone’s first priority, tapping on the startup trend of Fintech also allows for safer handling of financial exchange between individuals. While using cash requires physical contact to be made, cashless payment methods allow consumers to stay safe and hop on the new normal ride too 🙂

  1. E-commerce > Retail

This, like many other facets of business operations, has been on the rise for the past few years. However, the need to go into lockdown in certain countries in order to keep Covid-19 at bay had also resulted in the E-commerce sector to override the retail stores. 

Especially since retail stores could not open shops, the e-commerce field is one of the top 3 startup trends in the UAE as it presents both the seller and the buyer with a win-win scenario. 

Since travelling is also a no-go during these times, individuals may find that they are unable to get ample overseas experience. However, the e-commerce sector allows temporary relief as shipping products over borders can still continue. 

Shopping made convenient despite a pandemic? That’s sure to be a hit. And that’s why it’s also one of the top 3 startup trends currently booming in the UAE. 


And there you have it – a compiled list of the top 3 startup trends in the UAE!

With all that being said, we have to come to the end of this article! We hope this written piece has provided you with some insights as to what you can expect will shift or what may continue to remain after studying the top 3 startup trends currently seen booming in the UAE.

In the meantime, if you’re on the lookout for job opportunities at startups within the Middle East that may tap on these trends to march ahead, read on! 😉

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