Dubai tops brand consultancy Bloom's global digital city rankings

03 October 2018 3 min. read

Dubai has ranked as the number one location worldwide on the Digital City Index compiled by place-branding advisory Bloom Consulting – ahead of global centres Singapore, London and New York.

In a measure of city branding, Dubai has retained its top spot on Bloom Consulting’s 2018 Digital City Index, which assesses 136 international cities in terms of the number of web-searches performed globally in relation to three critical dimensions; tourism, talent, and investment. Finishing well on top overall, Dubai achieved a first ranking globally for tourism, and second for both investment and talent, behind only Singapore and London respectively.

To perform the analysis, Bloom Consulting – a Spanish-based place-branding analytics and strategy consultancy with global clients including the German Tourism Board and Abu Dhabi City Council – applies its own in-house software Digital Demand (D2) and excludes social media, in an effort to measure the ‘consequence’ and not the ‘cause’ of what has triggered a proactive interest in the locations of its study. It then collates the searches performed worldwide.

With more than 140,000 key-words and brand-tags considered, broken down into brand-tag families such as work, live and study (‘talent’), business environment and strategic sectors (‘investment’) and accommodation and touristic activities (‘tourism’), and with nearly 260 million valid search results returned, the analysis aims to provide an as objective measure as possible of what the consulting firm considers a city’s true level of appeal.Top ten digital city rankings 2018And according to the results, Dubai has garnered the greatest curiosity of any city in the world in 2018 for logged-on citizens across the globe, finishing ahead of long-time financial and tourism mega-centres Singapore, London, Hong Kong, New York and Paris, with Amsterdam, LA, Barcelona and Toronto rounding out the top ten. Dubai performed strongly in every dimension, with Singapore undermined by a lesser tourism interest (7th), and London slipping in terms of investment (5th).

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi has also performed well in this year’s greater Asia-specific list, landing in at ninth place behind Shanghai, Bangkok, Melbourne, Tokyo, and Sydney – with Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong again topping the list. Abu Dhabi scored a regional top-six result for investment, and placed in 11th for both tourism and talent. The United Arab Emirates as a collective however features somewhat lower down the current Digital country list, dropping to as a low as 111th as a searched-for country of tourism interest – highlighting the nature of branding.

“Dubai is the incontestable winner of the first Digital City Index Asia 2018 and is undoubtedly powered by Tourism,” the firm stated in its Asia report. “It is no secret that Dubai’s strengths lie in Shopping, Luxury and Fun Tourism. Dubai is pushing the boundaries with underwater hotels and offers of the best indoor skiing in the world. This proves that the city on the edge of the desert is not afraid to do anything and reinforces its digital appeal.”

Dubai has also featured prominently in other recent global rankings, from being the second most expensive city for the cost of blue jeans according to an analysis from Mercer, to battling it out with Abu Dhabi for the regional technology-base crown on McKinsey's global Smart City index. As to Bloom Consulting, which is an official data partner of the World Economic Forum, the firm together with UK partners Placematters currently have offices in London, Madrid, Lisbon and São Paulo in Brazil, serving clients through brand research, strategy, implementation and performance analytics.