Toluna’s Barometer wave 22 findings of the Middle East consumer

Toluna, a leading global provider of market research, consumer insights, and technology solutions, has released Wave 22 of its quarterly Barometer, providing interesting insights into the changing consumer landscape in the Middle East. This latest report examines the effects of the cost of living, the uncertain global political context, and sustainability concerns, shedding light on their impact on consumers' shopping habits and their relationship with brands.

The report places significant emphasis on environmentally and socially responsible brand behavior. The research findings reveal that a substantial portion of respondents in United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) express a strong preference for brands that are sincere, authentic, and committed to benefiting the environment and society. Notably, the study found that socially and environmentally responsible brands are prioritized by 29% in the UAE, and 25% in KSA compared to 26% of global respondents. Furthermore, the report highlights that refusing to invest in a product due to its detrimental impact on sustainability is a stance held by 29% in the UAE, and 30% in KSA versus 22% globally. Similarly, 25% in the UAE, and 27% in KSA have discontinued using a brand because of negative environmental and social activities in comparison with 16% globally.

Commenting on these findings, George Akkaoui, Enterprise Account Director & Office Leader MEA at Toluna, stated: “Middle Eastern consumers expect brands to align with their values and demonstrate a genuine commitment to sustainability. They actively seek brands that are sincere and authentic, have policies benefiting the environment and society, and are dedicated to reducing the use of plastic and paper packaging. Additionally, Middle Eastern consumers desire products and services that actively contribute to environmental and social changes”.

The report also reveals that residents of UAE and KSA exhibit higher overall satisfaction with their current lives and greater optimism about their future compared to the global average. The study found that UAE and KSA respondents reported an overall life satisfaction of 59% and 68%, respectively, surpassing the global average of 47%. Similarly, regarding optimism in the future, UAE and KSA respondents expressed rates of 65% and 67%, respectively, while the global average stood at 44%.

However, the rising cost of living poses challenges for consumers in the UAE and KSA, with 69% and 60% of respondents, respectively, acknowledging its impact on their spending plans. Concerns about personal financial security amid global economic circumstances were also prevalent, with 44% of UAE respondents, 33% of KSA respondents, and 41% globally expressing worry.

Toluna’s Barometer wave 22 findings of the Middle East consumer

As a result, Middle Eastern consumers are planning to adjust their spending habits in the coming months. The study found that 27% of UAE and KSA respondents are willing to forgo luxury products and services, while 28% are prepared to reduce their frequency of dining out. Additionally, 22% of UAE and 19% of KSA respondents are planning to limit their international travel.

The report indicates that cost-effectiveness and sustainability are crucial factors for consumers in the UAE and KSA, leading to a high level of experimentation with new brands and products. UAE and KSA respondents demonstrated a significant inclination towards trying new brands across various categories, including retailers (stores and online platforms), food and drink companies, beauty products/skincare/cosmetics, and electronics/mobiles/TVs.

“In light of these findings, brands must prioritize innovation to meet the evolving needs of consumers in the luxury products or services, automotive, food and beverage, and travel and tourism sectors. By undertaking innovation-centric measures, brands can capture the attention and loyalty of Middle Eastern consumers”, ended Akkaoui.

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