UAE leads advertising spend in GCC

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A new report ranks UAE as the biggest spender on advertising in the Arab world.

UAE advertising
Business Bay metro station in Dubai. A new report ranks UAE as the biggest spender on advertising in the Arab world. Photo:Chris Wilkinson

Figures from the Pan Arab Research Centre (PARC) show that the UAE spent about 6 percent more on advertising during Q1 of 2013, compared to the same period last year. The UAE spend on advertising rose from Dhs1.32 billion to Dhs1.4 billion during the first quarter of 2013. The UAE was followed by Saudi Arabia, which spent Dhs1.24 billion on advertising.

Kuwait was ranked in the third position with a spend of Dhs774 million, trailed by Egypt in the fourth place with Dhs686 million. Qatar (Dhs418 million) and Lebanon (Dhs374 million) also made it to the top five biggest spenders on advertising. Oman (Dhs300 million) and Bahrain (Dhs73.4 million) did not allocate much resources to advertising compared to other countries in the region.

According to the report, the total value of advertising spend in the GCC countries increased by an estimated 4.5 percent to Dhs4.2 billion during first quarter of this year.

Dhs4 billion was spent on advertising during the same period last year. The value of advertising spend on trans-border mass media, including satellite channels and international newspapers, surged by a healthy 15 percent to Dhs8.76 billion during 2013.

In line with the traditional approach to advertising, companies dedicated about 69 percent of the advertising budgets to TV advertisements.

The popularity of TV advertisements was followed by newspaper advertisements (21 percent) and magazine advertisements (4.3 percent).

During the first three months of this year, an amount of Dhs844 million was spent on outdoor advertisements. Radio advertisements and cinema advertisements attracted around Dhs110 million and Dhs33 million, respectively.

However, with growing penetration of online media channels, it can be expected that the role of traditional media is downplayed in the coming years. The changing demographics of Arab world are expected to shift the advertising spend away from these channels to other more focused and online channels.

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