UAE residents are increasingly engaging in board games, online classes & baking amidst the outbreak
May 4th, 2020, Zafar Shah

UAE residents are increasingly engaging in board games, online classes & baking amidst the outbreak

The frequency of undertaking these activities has increased more than usual as residents follow the stay at home guidelines

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live, work and eat. With the UAE government encouraging the public to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary, residents are finding ways to engage themselves at home. YouGov’s latest survey looks into the impact the pandemic has had on some of the usual activities and habits of the population.

The data reveals playing board games, puzzles, crosswords, etc. has been seen the largest increase in engagement amongst UAE residents as they practice social distancing and stay at home. Although 42% of the respondents claimed to play these games at least once a week before they started staying at home, the frequency of playing has increased since then and now 50% residents said they are playing these games at least once each week (up from 48% in the first two weeks of staying indoors). Residents aged between 25-34 years are more likely to play these games than the other age groups (at 57%).


On the contrary, the frequency of playing video games every week remained unchanged initially when people first started staying indoors (62%), but picked up slightly in the last two weeks of staying home, and 64% are now playing these games at least once a week.

Home baking has been on the rise throughout the period. As residents stay at home, many have donned the baker’s hat and have been baking more frequently while staying at home (50% in the first two weeks and 52% now) than they did prior to the Covid-19 situation (46%). Arab Expats seem especially likely to be baking more now as compared to the other nationality groups (with 65% saying so).

Another area that has seen an upswing during the outbreak is the enrolment in skill-based online courses. The frequency of taking these classes has increased from 36% taking it at least once a week before the health crisis to 43% once the stay at home guidelines were rolled out, and currently just as many (43%) continue taking these lessons. Men are more likely than women to take these classes now (45% vs 36%).

Besides these, activities like ‘listening to podcasts’ and ‘meditation or yoga’ have all seen a boost and a higher number of people are engaging in these actions now than before (40% vs 44% and 41% vs 45%, respectively).

Some residents are tending to their house more and are increasingly involving themselves in chores such as ‘gardening’ and ‘deep-cleaning or de-cluttering the house’. Following the widespread scare around the virus, it seems people are taking matters in their own hands as part of precautionary measure to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Surprisingly, the Coronavirus has brought little to no difference to the level of physical activity undertaken by people and they are indulging in physical exercises as frequently now as they used to before the pandemic.

The same is true for people’s reading habits and cooking regimens, which have witnessed little to no change and people continue doing these as frequently as they did pre-pandemic.

Data collected online by YouGov Omnibus among 1004 respondents in the UAE between 22nd and 29th April 2020 using YouGov’s panel of over 6 million people worldwide. Data is representative of the adult national population in the country