Around 80 per cent of UAE consumers check at least three sources before making a purchase, according to a new study released on Tuesday.

Global management consultancy firm Kearney’s Consumer Institute’s Kearney Consumer Education study revealed that 72 per cent of UAE consumers spend a minimum of 15 minutes researching before making a purchasing decision, with consumer-led information being deemed the most useful.

Consumers cited greater reliance on fellow customer reviews (69 per cent), online research (65 per cent), word-of-mouth (36 per cent) and social media (32 per cent) as compared to information found on the brand website (32 per cent), product labels (25 per cent), in-store advertising (12 per cent), TV or online advertisements (12 per cent) and traditional media (6 per cent).

“During the pandemic, consumers became used to purchasing online and relying on the research and reviews that came with it. Looking forward, brands can aim to tap into this behaviour, rather than trying to educate on their terms,” said Mohammed Dhedhi, partner at consumer and retail practice at Kearney Middle East.

“Product or service education is most effective when it solves consumer-identified problems, and brands today have the opportunity to develop deep loyalty and trust by investing in understanding the needs of their audiences,” added Dhedhi.

When it comes to food, the UAE residents say the taste is the number one attribute for trying new food trends. While nearly 70 per cent of consumers in the UAE say they will not buy plant-based meat because it doesn’t taste good. “To attract mainstream consumers, it’s not about educating them on the sustainability benefits; it’s focusing on taste and messaging accordingly,” the report said.

Going forward, the study found that consumers will begin demonstrating more traditional inflationary behaviours.

“Consumers tend to make tradeoffs — whether it’s trying new brands, buying certain items less, or going to closer stores — but most don’t just trade down across the board,” it said, adding that the Metaverse was the name of the game. Brands are experimenting in the space and buying up virtual real estate. But there’s still a long way to go for mainstream consumer adoption.

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