MENA retail survey: ‘Brand conscious’ demographic

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A new global survey, covering shopping trends all over the world, reveals the MENA region is home to some of the most impulsive and brand-conscious shoppers in the world.

MENA retail sector cashes on impulsive spenders
Shoppers in front of Louis Vuitton showroom in Dubai Mall. Photo: jonrdatu/Flickr

The latest edition of the Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Shopping Behavior is based on the feedback of about 29,000 online respondents from 58 countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia. It shows that about 40 percent of shoppers in the MENA region are in the habit of buying goods on impulse. About 56 percent of the respondents showed their inclination towards purchasing branded goods only. Forty-three percent of the polled shoppers expressed a desire to try out new products before other consumers, consequently, the MENA population was among the earliest adopters of new fashion and other new products.

Shoppers in other emerging markets, such as China, India and Indonesia, led the overall global rankings in terms of impulse spending and becoming early adopters of products. In these countries, about 40 percent of consumers made unplanned purchases, while 45 percent of them claimed to have tried products before others.

According to the Nielsen report; “With about one-third of global respondents often buying things they did not need and trying products earlier than others, impulsive spenders and early adopters were in the minority in all regions. But respondents [in Middle East and Africa, as well as Asia Pacific] exceeded the global average for both impulsive spending and early adoption.”

These findings indicate significant investment opportunities are available in the MENA region. In recent years, Middle Eastern consumers have witnessed an increase in their disposable income thanks to a booming economy that has benefited from record high oil prices. The UAE has also emerged as a top shopping destination, with one of the highest concentrations of mega malls in the region. As these shoppers do not compromise on brand image and quality, MENA retail businesses should now focus their attention on providing the products which will meet the needs of this exclusive demographic.

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  1. The opening of mega malls with their large format Hypermarkets and their Food Courts and Play areas have made for a whole new shopping experience. Grocery shopping is now a family outing and no longer remains the chore that it used to be. The Supplier, Retailer and Consumer relationship has been rewritten.

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