Within the UAE, 42 percent of consumers perceive quality as the most important value when purchasing products, which is likely to reflect a higher average income across the country, according to a new report by global professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal (A&M).
The Shape of Retail 2022 Report, which was conducted in partnership with Retail Economics, reveals that UAE consumers are less likely to compromise on product quality for lower prices and are more inclined to sacrifice convenience or the shopping experience.
The study suggests that the UAE consumer currently has a different set of priorities compared to the majority of European peers
24 percent of consumers in the UAE perceive the price as an important factor in decision making; these consumers are expected to trade down to private-label and own-brand products, and even switch from supermarkets to discounter operators.
Moreover, almost a third of the consumers in the UAE (29 percent) say the cost-of-living crisis will have the biggest impact on their expectations of retailers and brands in the next 12 months.
The analysis shows that emotion-driven attributes of value (sustainability and experience) are considered the most important to consumers across all retail categories for UAE consumers. 12 percent of consumers in the UAE are increasingly embracing social causes, and are shopping with intent by seeking products and brands that align with their values; and 12 percent of consumers are looking for meaningful interactions with retail brands, as well as entertainment, and an environment which adds value to the whole experience while purchasing.
Also, nearly 8 percent of UAE consumers said they now consider the environmental impact of their purchases more.
The most important ethical practices for UAE consumers are knowing the company or brand uses sustainable means to source its products and materials (21 percent), followed by fair wages to its employees (21 percent).
Across the five countries surveyed, it is noted that younger consumers are most likely to prioritize sustainability and ethics, with 12 percent saying it was the most important factor when making purchasing decisions – compared to an average of 9 percent across all generations. In the UAE, nearly half of the consumers (49 percent) say they are willing to pay more for sustainable products (15 percent significantly more and 34 percent a little more). Ethics and sustainability are the most important factors for consumers when shopping for groceries (16 percent) and apparel (15.5 percent), although they are still seen as less important quality and price of the products.
Furthermore, the report highlights that ethics and sustainability are the most important factors for consumers when shopping for groceries (16 percent) and apparel (15.5 percent), although they are still seen as less important quality and price of the products.