Spotlighting African and Middle Eastern Consumers

October 13th, 2012

CrowdedstreetAnalyst Insight by Daphne Kasriel-Alexander, Consumers Editor at Euromonitor International 

Which consumer trends are
manifesting themselves in the Middle East and Africa? This bulletin focuses on
Middle Eastern luxury shoppers in London, British brands entering the UAE,
Egyptians shopping on Facebook, American mall culture in Ghana and the
attachment of South Africans to their mobile phones.


the new hangout for Egyptian fashionistas

As visas to Europe and the USA
are becoming increasingly harder to acquire, Facebook has become the unlikely
portal for Egypt's well-heeled to shop at. "Facebook shopping has
successfully replaced the yearly shopping trips overseas that the upper and upper-middle
class were used to," noted 30-year old Amina Megahed, who said high-end
stores in Egypt fail to satisfy her hunger for fashion. Like Amina, most
followers of Facebook fashion groups are mostly young women with cash and a
love for fashion looking for something different from the local boutiques. In
the Facebook shopping world, the group administrator is in charge of everything
from purchasing to shipping and taxation, making it much easier for cash-rich
but time-poor consumers to shop.

of Internet Users in Egypt: 2008 – 2012

Source: Euromonitor
International from national statistics/International Telecommunications

Note: Data for 2012 is forecast

middle-class hitting the mall – American style

Ghana's first American-style
shopping mall in the capital, Accra, is changing the way Ghanaians spend their
free time. A typical scene on a weekend could be from a shopping mall anywhere
in the USA – boys in skinny jeans, girls wearing hot pink lipstick, families
eating pizza at a food court. Asante-Appaih, owner of a pharmacy and dental
clinic at the mall, explains: "It's become a good pastime for Ghanaians
after church on Sunday. Parents can relax with their kids just strolling and
shopping, much like families in Europe or in America." Developers forecast
more of such malls would spring up across the country replacing the beach as a
place for middle-class Ghanaians to spend their weekends. According to
Euromonitor International statistics, Ghana's growth expanded to 13.6% in 2011
from 7.7% the year before – driven by new oil production and the construction

more calls for Kenyan mobile phoneys

By September the 30th, close
to three million Kenyan mobile subscribers with counterfeit handsets could be
plugged off unless they acquire genuine handsets. The switch off by The
Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) will be a costly affair for consumers
who will have to acquire new handsets, a significant number of whom are said to
have bought the fake phones unknowingly. There are an estimated 2.4 million
subscribers using counterfeit phones in the country. Click to Tweet! “Counterfeits are a menace
and they are a threat to our networks, especially when making sensitive
transactions like money transfer,” stated Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob

Africans want to be constantly in the know

A majority of South Africans
feel the need to be constantly on their phone checking for emails and updates
social networking sites. According to a nationwide survey by Pharma Dynamics of
3000 respondents aged between 15 and 50, released in early July 2012, 62% live
in "constant fear" of missing out on something more exciting that
what they are doing. The symptoms of the epidemic, known by its acronym FOMO
(fear of missing out), include the inability to put away one's mobile phone,
excessive phone texting even while driving, tweeting on the toilet and showing
up at events uninvited. South Africans are the most enthusiastic tweeters in
Africa (with over 5 million tweets), according to a report released by UK-based
research firm Tweetminster in January. Click to Tweet! Kenya came in second place, generating
2.48 million tweets – followed by Nigeria (1.67 million), Egypt (1.21 million)
and Morocco (0.75 million).


spree takes shoppers to Olympics City

The Olympics season has seen a
rush of Ramadan shoppers from the Middle East travelling to London. According
to British newspaper The Daily Mail, luxury designer stores in the West End see
the average Saudi shopper spend around £1,900 ($2,964) dwarfing the £120 ($187)
spent by a British shopper or the £550 ($858) by an American one. Arabic
speaking staffs are being hand-picked by luxury brands to make sure customers
are optimally served. “The Ramadan Rush is a total phenomenon. There are so
many of them. What do they love doing when they're here? Shopping!” said Jace
Tyrrell of the New West End Company, the management company for retailers in
Oxford, Bond and Regent Streets.

us the real deal, grease and all

Consumers in the Middle East
are not too keen on healthy fast food alternatives, according to US pizza chain
Papa John's that operates 84 outlets in the GCC (Gulf Co-operative Council).
“Customers claimed they want a health-conscious pizza such as whole wheat
crust, but they never order it. They always go back to the original product,”
said CEO John Schnatter. The Middle East has in recent years seen a surge in
fast food chains. High demand from locals and expatriates make the region a
strong market for a wide range of concepts, especially in Gulf countries such
as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Fast food sales in Saudi Arabia are
expected to reach US$4.5bn in the next three years, driven by orders from the
young and affluent, according to Euromonitor International.

consumers love their coffee

UAE residents consume nearly
twice as much coffee as in any other GCC country, with about 1.4 billion cups
of coffee poured per day, according to the International Coffee Organisation
(ICO). Click to Tweet!  “Even when times are hard, people still drink coffee,” said Jose Settee,
head of operations at the ICO. Nespresso, the single-portion coffee brand owned
by Nestlé, recently said the Middle East is “its future”, the UAE being the
initial focus.

Consumer Expenditure on Coffee, Tea and Cocoa in the UAE: 2009 – 2012


Source: Euromonitor
International from national statistics/Eurostat/UN/OECD

Note: Data for 2012 is
forecast. Historical and forecast data based on constant prices and fixed 2011
exchange rates.

taste of home for Abu Dhabi's expatriates

British expatriates missing a
taste of home can get their fix at Abu Dhabi's first Waitrose supermarket which
opened in July. "It's long overdue – Abu Dhabi is a multicultural
city," said British expatriate Sarah Gaye, a media librarian. "It
will be interesting if they maintain the healthy organic concept here."
With reduced consumption in Europe, the UAE will see an influx of British
brands such as Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Mothercare and House of Fraser in
the next twelve months.

to simpler needs for Israeli shoppers

It seems that last summer's
social protests have revolutionised Israeli consumer shopping habits; consumers
are no longer drawn to brands as much. A study involving 800 people conducted
in May by Superbrands, a UK-based organisation that provides opinions on
branding, reveals that 36.3% now chooses to buy generic products more often,
while 19.4% have completely stopped buying brand name goods. However, when it
comes to fashion, alcohol, cigarettes, cosmetics, baby food and health
products, consumers are still willing to pay more for brands. Meanwhile, it has
been observed that Israeli supermarkets are stepping up efforts to promote
store-brand products with increased offerings and placement prominence.



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Lydia Gordon

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