For the past eleven years, PwC has surveyed thousands of consumers across the globe every year to track their shopping behaviour, lifestyle habits and more. This year, we focused on 19,000 urban consumers in 29 countries, including 1,002 respondents in the Middle East region.
The aim of the survey was to get an in depth look at consumers in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Riyadh, Jeddah and Cairo — to really understand where and how they shop, what their lifestyle is like and why they choose to live in their city.
The findings highlight the unique differences between the consumers in the region and the ongoing transformation that our cities are experiencing compared to global.
Our new report is based on a Global Consumer Insights Survey COVID-19 Pulse – a snapshot survey that analyses how consumer attitudes in the region have been affected by the lockdown. It identifies key regional trends to watch in a retail landscape likely to be impacted by social distancing and other virus-suppression measures for some time to come.
Consumers in the Middle East and globally are still shopping both in-store and on their smartphones. Interestingly, we see a revival of the tablet as the number of consumers using this shopping channel has increased by 12% in the last two years.
Similarly to global, Middle East consumers shop exclusively online when purchasing airline and rail tickets, hotels and entertainment tickets. When investing in large purchases such as furniture and jewellery consumers are more likely to shop at a physical store to get the full in-store experience.
Middle East consumers prefer convenience and are more likely to use food delivery services than global consumers. In fact three out of five consumers have restaurant food delivered to their house at least once a week. As demand grows, so does choice and availability, making food delivery even more accessible for consumers in the region.
Four out of five consumers in the Middle East are expecting to spend the same or more in the next 12 months versus more cautious global consumers.
Consumers continue to embrace mobile payments globally. Middle East consumers still lead on making purchases using in-store apps though this practice is becoming less popular.
Middle East consumers consider shopping a fun pastime and are more likely to shop at a physical store when personal shopping services, personalised in-store promotions and exclusive or limited edition offerings are available.
Regional consumers welcome new technologies and believe they would enhance their in-store experience. In fact, 4 out of 10 consumers would like to receive personalised offers on their smartphone when they enter a physical store and prefer completing their purchase using an automated checkout.
12% of Middle East consumers shop for clothing and footwear at luxury stores.
5% of Global consumers shop for clothing and footwear at luxury stores.
71% of Middle East consumers purchase at least some of their groceries online, and a third make microtrips to the grocery store or supermarket daily or more frequently. When it comes to delivery, shoppers expect instant gratification and are willing to pay for 0-2 hour delivery.
Middle East consumers use platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to seek inspiration, particularly for fashion and technology purchases, but are less likely to buy directly through a shoppable post. Thanks to a continued push for transparency around paid partnerships, consumers are more aware than ever — only 19% reported to have been influenced to buy by a product or a service following an endorsement from a celebrity and 32% have been influenced to buy following a positive review on social media.
Still important in the customer journey but less likely to influence consumer purchasing decisions.
Consumers in Abu Dhabi:
Consumers in Dubai:
Consumers in Riyadh:
Consumers in Jeddah:
Consumers in Cairo:
We surveyed a total of 19,098 urban consumers in 29 countries, including 1,002 in the Middle East, between August and September 2019 to understand their shopping habits, lifestyle and preference for their city. In the region, we focused on five key cities: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Riyadh, Jeddah and Cairo.