87% of GCC customers using a mix of online and offline for their shopping needs, a new study showed.

According to Oliver Wyman, a global management consulting firm and a business of Marsh McLennan, the retail industry is building rapidly in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), particularly across the GCC thanks to its growing young and affluent population and its high digital consumption rates. The sector is also being transformed by the blurring of boundaries between industries such as retail, entertainment, hospitality, food, banking, and payments.

Additionally, these consumers have higher expectations for tailored experiences compared to their global counterparts, with a difference of more than 30%.

According to Joe Abi Akl, Head of the India, Middle East, and Africa Retail and Consumer Goods practice at Oliver Wyman: “The parallel merging of offline-, online-, and omni-channels has led to the emergence of ecosystem platform players, and as such the retail sector is experiencing the rise of ‘service clusters’. These clusters are expanding their offerings to cater for as many of the ever-evolving lifestyle needs and wants of customers as possible. The changing customer and landscape mean there’s potentially significant growth for companies – in fact, the ecosystem approach could deliver a revenue pool of USD1 trillion across the MENA region.”

However, to attain consistent and sustainable growth in the industry, RCG organizations must also overcome challenges, Abi Akl notes. These include intense competition and the emergence of disruptive, digitally-driven business models, in addition to a complex regulatory environment at the regional level, and a lack of economic integration across MENA markets – all of which makes it essential for organizations to develop the right strategy for growth.

Oliver Wyman has bolstered its practice focused on Retail & Consumer Goods (RCG) in the India, Middle East, and Africa region, combining Oliver Wyman’s global expertise in transformation, development of retail solutions, and more with extensive local experience to provide strategic guidance to retail and consumer businesses aiming to transform and grow.

“It is a dynamic time in the region, and those who embrace bold change will undoubtedly reap the rewards. At Oliver Wyman we are committed to empowering our clients so that they achieve groundbreaking results, and we are thrilled to strengthen our strategic advisory services to retail and consumer clients across India, the Middle East, and Africa. I’m confident that Joe Abi Akl, with his exceptional expertise, will help empower our clients to be transformative and bold at this pivotal moment,” said Pedro Oliveira, Managing Partner of Oliver Wyman in India, the Middle East, and Africa.

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