Middle East consumer exploring the web for better deals

24 October 2023 Consultancy-me.com 3 min. read
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Consumers in the Middle East are increasingly on the front foot in their buying decisions, using the internet to compare prices, access reviews and acquire valuable competitive information. Over 60% of consumers actively search for product reviews before committing to a purchase.

According to research from PwC, which canvassed the views of around 650 consumers in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, consumers are tacking stock of the benefits of the online channel to boost their purchasing decision – including their own wallet.

Consumers are geared towards embracing the advantages of both online shopping’s convenience and the assurance offered by in-store purchases. They seek the immersive experience of physical retail while also capitalizing on the ease of online transactions through digital tools to make informed choices.

Middle East consumer exploring the web for better deals

Source: PwC

The majority of consumers surveyed use online to compare and assess, exploring factors that go beyond just pricing. Notably, while shopping in-store, consumers utilize their mobile phones to research products online, comparing prices on websites, with 50% favoring search engines, while 49% opt for Amazon and 41% rely on social media platforms for product research.

This evolution in consumer behavior in the Middle East indicates, according to the PwC report, the emergence of a more tech-savvy and informed shopper base.

This in turn underscores the impact of digital transformation on the dynamic retail landscape of Middle Eastern countries, urging retailers to adapt to these changes in their strategies, products and overall shopping experiences..

ESG conscious shopping?

Among other conclusions of the report, the researchers found that a substantial portion of regional consumers expresses a willingness to pay above-average prices for products produced locally.

Thinking about your spending over the next 6 months, to the best of your ability, please describe your expectations on spending across the following categories

Additionally, both regional and global consumers are inclined to pay extra for products with a reduced carbon footprint or those offered by companies with ethical practices, such as supporting human rights and avoiding animal testing.

Changing patterns

In terms of their spending preferences, consumers exhibited a willingness to allocate their budgets towards essential items. Specifically, 61% of the survey participants expressed their readiness to increase their spending on groceries, while 53% were open to investing in fashion and 49% in consumer electronics.

Although GCC countries were previously found to be less immune to the global downturn, 31% of respondents told PwC they intend to reduce expenditures on luxury products, with another 30% stating they plan to scale back spending on designer clothing.