Real estate is back to boosting UAE’s ad numbers

Tuesday, Nov 05, 2013

Dubai: Real estate has come zooming back into the frame as one of the key ad generators in the UAE market during the third quarter. It is the first time in more than four years that real estate ads have emerged as a significant category, a fact underlined by project launches and increased marketing spends by developers and other property firms.

Also during the third quarter, momentum started to build for Dubai’s campaign to host the Expo 2020. Apart from the many government-led ad and marketing splashes, the private sector too is taking up the theme intently.

In the process, the UAE easily retained its standing as the top ad market in the region with an estimated spend of $1.19 billion (Dh4.37 billion) for the first nine months, a 4 per cent gain over the corresponding period last year. In fact, the third quarter recorded the highest spend, at $417 million, against the $401 million and $381 million in the second and first quarters respectively, according to Shaharyar Umar of Pan Arab Research Centre (Parc).

Saudi Arabia is again in second place, with just over $1 billion up to end September, the data from Parc estimates.

In the UAE, print dominated by accounting for $817 million — or 69 per cent — of the total spend, with newspapers accounting for $650 million-plus (55 per cent). The re-emergence of real estate-specific campaigns is also obvious in the gains made by outdoor media, estimated at $178 million in the first nine months. The summer-long retail promotions in Dubai also reflected heavily in the outdoor media figures. (All estimates are based on official media tariffs with agencies.)

Retail and entertainment, meanwhile, continue to provide the dynamics for the UAE’s ad industry.

New real estate projects

“Within the retail sector, spending on luxury goods continues to grow and is a function of resurgent economies of the region and increased sophistication in shopping habits,” Ramzi Haddad, general manager at the media buying agency Carat UAE, said. “We are also seeing the real estate sector regain its healthy appetite for advertising through new projects that are basically helping boost the brand image of rising global cities such as Dubai.

“Traditional powers like telecom and banks will continue to outshine other sectors in their spending patterns.”

Carrefour and Samsung were the top two brands in their exposure to newspaper campaigns, followed by etisalat, while on TV, the UAE telecom operator was in the top slot.

The fourth quarter, traditionally the strongest, has already got off to a good start led by Gitex, a revitalised Cityscape Global and with the Dubai motor and air shows to follow.

Will this upturn lead to a spike in media tariffs? “No, I don’t see any significant rise in rates for offline media, perhaps a few minor corrections,” Rajeev Khanna, member of the board at the IAA UAE Chapter, said. “However, rates for direct marketing [inclusive of in-mall/affinity marketing] and outdoors will rise a notch or two... as to whether it is justified is a different conversation.”

By Manoj Nair Associate Editor

Gulf News 2013. All rights reserved.


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