Saudi and UAE shoppers among biggest Black Friday spenders

26 November 2021 3 min. read

Consumers in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are forecasted to be among the biggest spenders during this year’s Black Friday feast – one of the largest shopping extravaganzas on the planet.

Globally, shoppers are expected to spend an average of $264 on Black Friday (or during the multi-day Black Friday feast as many shoppers extend their discounts across several days), according to research by strategy consultancy Simon-Kucher & Partners.

In Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the average intended spend per shopper is considerably larger, at $380 and $322 respectively. In comparison, in the US the average is $270, while the Chinese are forecasted to spend the most ($447) although that number is for the country’s own mega feast in November: Single’s Day.

Planned budget for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Expanding on why the two Middle East countries have such high budgets, Lovrenc Kessler, Managing Partner UAE at Simon-Kucher & Partners, said: “It is no secret that Middle Eastern consumers indeed have higher shopping budgets. For example, female Emirati citizens spend 43 percent of their income on fashion shopping alone.

But there are other factors too that contribute to their relatively higher intended spend amounts during this Black Friday, he added. “The UAE and Saudi Arabia are among the top 15 on the global purchasing power index, owing to factors such as high salaries and low tax environments. This means that the consumers simply have higher purchasing power, given their salary to expense ratio.”

Expected discount level on Black Friday and Cyber Monday - Middle East and US

“Consumers in both countries also have relatively sophisticated tastes and a higher preference for luxury shopping, leading to a natural increase in the value of their shopping basket. This year, Middle Eastern consumers (with income above $5,400) plan to spend a whopping 30 percent of their income on luxury items.

“Lastly, given Black Friday's high awareness in the region (around 98 percent), Middle Eastern consumers are smart in the sense that they often hold back their purchases, waiting for the holiday season to leverage attractive deals, further increasing their shopping value.”

However, compared to last year, shoppers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia plan to spend less. A key reason for this decline is Covid-19. The study revealed that 60 per cent of consumers agreed that the pandemic influenced their shopping behaviour, planning less in advance, having lower budgets and being less interested.

Online vs. offline shopping preferences

Electronics and fashion are set to be the most popular categories – with more than 40 per cent of consumers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia expecting a discount of at least 40 per cent.

Despite the rapid emergence of the e-commerce channel, a substantial number of consumers said they will buy in-store. In the UAE 39 percent who said they will visit a store of mall, with Norway and Colombia the only two other countries leaning more towards offline. In Saudi Arabia, 29 percent said they will shop in-store.

“Given high proportions of omnichannel preferences, retailers that successfully enable seamless continuity between online and offline channels, will win this season,” said Kessler.