We are entering an unprecedented time of challenges and opportunities for the ME consumer sector, as the impact of ramped-up digitalisation, personal tech proliferation, and overall economic volatility makes for an uncertain yet tantalisingly opportune commercial landscape.
Today’s ME consumer is also changing; they are becoming more demanding, more price-sensitive, more willing to research and investigate before making purchases, and less brand loyal.
In short, companies need to work harder and, more importantly, smarter to reach and retain their intended audience, as the market realities of the global digital economy see their competition levels and business costs rise.
1. ME consumers are becoming increasingly confident and adept with personal technology. Within the next five years, the MENA region will have another 549 million regular internet users, accounting for one-third of the entire regional population (up from 23% in 2017).
2. GCC countries now have some of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world (77% overall in 2018), and across the ME region there are 120 mobile phone subscriptions for every 100 inhabitants.
Fears over economic volatility and changes to employment trends brought on by emerging technologies are causing ME consumers to be more careful and discerning when shopping.
3. 40% of UAE and KSA consumers are cutting down on spending and paying closer attention to prices.
4. Speed and convenience are now prime motivations for purchases, and they are fuelling online commerce growth in the GCC and rest of the ME region. Overall UAE e-commerce transactions are predicted to reach $16 billion by the end of 2019.
5. Pricing is also key, as more ME consumers are switching from their preferred brands to cheaper alternatives. 15% of UAE and KSA consumers are trading down and more than half of these say they won’t trade back up even if their financial situation improves.
ME leading brands across all major industry verticals are not blind to the ground shifting beneath them and are determined to shift with it.
The clear commercial imperative to improve customer experience is driving the ME CX solutions market towards a record high of $800 million by 2020. More than ever, companies want to understand and anticipate the needs and preferences of their customers faster and with greater surety, removing the guesswork and unnecessary mistakes that are cutting into already tightening profit margins – and they’re willing to pay more for this kind of guidance.
How data can fast-track advanced CX delivery. Read on.