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DUBAI: Almost half of surveyed UAE consumers said they expect the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to last another year,  new research found.

Spending habits in the UAE have evolved because of the health crisis that pushed industries to the wall, according to a study commissioned by global consulting firm Kearney.

Sales of essential items, including food and beverages, have shown a sustained increase, while spending on non-essential goods have continued to drop.

The study showed 73 percent of consumers have admitted to changing their shopping habits, including buying more expensive items than usual.

“The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way consumers view health and safety measures and efforts. As residents adapt to the new normal, hygiene and hygiene transparency have become vital,” Debashish Mukherjee, head of consumer industries and retail practice at Kearney Middle East.

But Kearney said consumers also showed some optimism in the recovery of the retail industry, as the UAE pursues an aggressive pandemic exit strategy.

“Spending is being driven by the easing of restrictions, higher awareness of health and wellbeing, and expectations to return to the office,” Mukherjee said.

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