Dubai: Dubai remains the number one destination for luxury spending in the Middle East, followed by Doha, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait City, a survey commissioned by American Express Middle East has revealed.

According to the survey, 43 per cent chose Dubai as their favourite city to shop for luxury items, followed by Doha, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait City.

However, the average amount spent on luxury items each month in Dubai was $2,300 (Dh8,447), compared to $4,000 in Qatar.

Holidays and fine dining are the categories, which people spend the most on in the UAE.

In addition, respondents in the UAE indicated that personal wellness would become more of a priority in the next 12 months, with a third saying it would become their top luxury spending priority, as per the survey.

However, the survey reveals that people have been contributing less to savings and retirement due to a high cost of living. Only 18 per cent cut back spending in 2015.

It further highlights that Western expatriates have cut back on dining out and travel costs, while Asians and Emiratis are spending more on holidays.

American Express worked with a research firm GFK, which conducted face-to-face interviews with more than 400 consumers on their spending habits.

Prioritising spending

At the same time, consumers in the region are de-prioritising but not slowing their spending in a “bumpy 2016”, as they plan to prioritise their luxury spend.

“The real reasons were [the] economic situation, employment and job security, and that is why they have de-prioritised [spending] and shifted from one category to another,” Mazin Khoury, chief executive officer at American Express Middle East, told reporters on Tuesday in Dubai. Oman and Bahrain have the highest percentages of consumers prioritising.

However, even with the economic changes, respondents did not cut on spending significantly in 2015. About 80 per cent of respondents spent more or less the same in 2015.

“Despite the economic headwinds, there is optimism among respondents that would impact their spending slightly, but not to a massive degree,” Khoury said.