UAE Consumer law
Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development has released the results of the UAE Consumer Survey Image Credit: Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development has released the results of the UAE Consumer Survey, which was aimed at gaining key insights on consumer behaviour across multiple areas, including marketing, social media, digital media, e-commerce, retail, food and nutrition.

The report will help provide reliable data to encourage entrepreneurship within the country and serve SMEs with valuable consumer behaviour data.

The survey consisted of 1,884 respondents from a wide demographic that accurately represents the UAE’s population.

Online advertisement

According to the report’s marketing and social media data analysis, 40 percent of the respondents stated that they find online advertising to be intrusive and unhelpful while another 40 percent of those surveyed said they’re neutral towards advertisements as long as they also receive high-quality and free content in return.

Subsequently, 35 percent of the respondents said they did not favour receiving online adverts based on their search history, thus recommending that businesses find other more engaging marketing methods to reach their respective target audiences.

Prior research

The report also stated that 66.4 percent of online consumers conduct prior research before making a major purchase, while 96.10 percent of the respondents use Google as their preferred search engine, therefore, signifying Google advertising’s potential for offering business growth.

Alia Al Mazrouei, CEO of Khalifa Fund, stated, “The UAE Consumer Survey Report is yet another tool for the UAE’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to benefit from as per Khalifa Fund’s wide array of versatile services. The in-depth report was developed during the heights of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the aim of providing entrepreneurs with new insights into consumer behaviours; many of the new trends and traits in consumer spending are here to stay, so it’s imperative that we equip SMEs with the knowledge and resources to manoeuvre in this new-age market. “

Respondents' attittudes

The report also took a detailed look at respondents’ attitudes towards social media use and found that 45.10 percent of those surveyed use business networks such as LinkedIn regularly. 83.30 percent of the respondents prefer using instant messengers such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat while over 75 percent of the respondents used social networks such as Facebook, Instagram etc.

Additionally, an overwhelming majority of the respondents, around 92.5 percent, said they use social media platforms daily and several times a week, which indicates that UAE is highly social media-oriented.

The respondents’ attitudes towards online shopping, e-commerce and retail were also documented and found that 71.20 percent of the female respondents and 60 percent of male respondents look at customer reviews before making an online purchase.

Female online shoppers

The report also stated that 57.2 percent of female online shoppers said they prefer to use their phones or tablets to research products and make new purchases. Reviews play a key role in product research and therefore the report recommends that businesses take steps to ensure positive reviews for their products.

Additionally, the report looked into the UAE’s attitude towards food and nutrition and found that 73 percent of the respondents make healthy food choices, 45 percent are concerned about food convenience and service efficiency, while 49percent prefer natural flavours and actively avoid artificial flavours and preservatives.

Target groups

The UAE Consumer Survey Report concludes by recommending that businesses should target medium to high-income groups within the market as they represent more than 63 percent of the total population; the majority of consumers are highly educated so marketing campaigns should offer valuable content as per the interest of the demographic group; convenience and flexibility are two very important features that consumers look for when making a purchase, either physically or via online platforms; and entrepreneurs in the F&B sector should focus on healthy food and natural ingredients while offering quick and convenient service.