Majority of GCC consumers participate in sales promotion events

15 December 2023 3 min. read
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In a sign of high consumer spending linked with robust economic growth, consumers in the UAE have been shown to be participating at very high levels in special sales promotions. Much the same goes for the rest of GCC countries.

Special seasonal sales events and promotion days are becoming more common across the world, with many borrowed from the shopping culture of the US, like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and others, or China, like Singles Day.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is also seeing great success with seasonal promotional sales in categories like fashion, electronics, and groceries, both online and offline.

Majority of GCC consumers participate in sales promotion events

In the UAE, 96% of consumers actively engage in summer and winter sales, 94% in sales related to Ramadan, and 93% in Black Friday sales. That is according to a new consumer report from growth strategy consulting firm Simon-Kucher, which analyzed consumer behavior in the GCC countries when it comes to key sales events.

In both the UAE and the KSA, clothing and shoes are at the top of the list as the most purchased items during sales. 86% of respondents in the UAE and 83% in the KSA said they tend to look for a fresh new look when the time for sales come around.

Most frequently purchased product categories during a specific promotion day

In Saudi Arabia, the Back to School and Black Friday sales events take the lead both with 96% participation. Earlier this year, Redseer Strategy Consultants estimated that Black Friday alone has grown into a $74 billion retail opportunity for the MENA region.

The Simon-Kucher survey also showed, however, that 36% of consumers in the kingdom plan to spend less on big promotion days in the future, signaling a potential shift in spending patterns.

“Shoppers eagerly await exciting retail events like Black Friday and Dubai Shopping Festival drawn in by amazing deals and experiences But while everyone is excited, shoppers also face higher prices because of inflation and changing market dynamics,” said Lovrenc Kessler, managing partner for UAE at Simon-Kucher.

Majority of GCC consumers participate in sales promotion events

Another interesting insight from the survey is that slightly more than half of respondents said that their preference is online shopping when it comes to taking advantage of sales events. Nearly half of UAE consumers (48%) and 39% in Saudi Arabia prefer shopping in person at brick and mortar locations during promotional events.

A previous report found that in the shift towards e-commerce retail channels, global players are facing mounting competition from home-grown start-ups (and scale-ups) that cater to the unique needs of local populations.