DUBAI: The retail industry increases its overall emotional connection with consumers this year, ranking #5 out of the 15 industries studied in the 2019 Brand Intimacy Report. Amazon, in particular, had a strong year, having the highest increase in ranking and leading the industry for the first time in three years. Its success is followed by Carrefour at #2, and City Centre at #3. Dubai Mall, LuLu, IKEA, noon, Mall of the Emirates, Sharaf DG and Jumbo round out the Top 10, in that order.

There are varying preferences based on demographics. Men prefer City Centre, millennials, Carrefour, while high income users most favor Amazon.

Brand Intimacy is defined as the emotional science that measures the bonds we form with the brands we use and love. Top Intimate Brands outperform top brands in the S&P and Fortune 500 indices for revenue and profit. Consumers are also more willing to pay price premiums for Intimate Brands and less willing to live without them, according to the 2019 Brand Intimacy Report. MBLM leverages the yearly study to help client brands create, sustain and measure ultimate brand relationships.

“The retail category showed improvement in building bonds with consumers, although the top brand, Amazon, ranked 20th overall. Continued attention to brick and mortar and digital channels are expected in the UAE”, states William Shintani, managing partner of MBLM. “There is still an opportunity for brands in the category to embrace emotion, leverage relationships more and create experiences that exceed expectations, delivering superior service, quality, and efficacy."

Other notable findings for the retail industry include:

• Fulfillment (exceeds expectations, delivering superior service, quality and efficacy) is the top industry archetype.

• #4 most intimate industry for millennials and male users

• 53.3% of users have an immediate emotional connection with noon, which is 14.5% higher than the industry average

• 23.5% of users feel Carrefour is the #1 brand they can’t live without (most essential), which is 11.4% higher than the industry average

• Dubai Mall went up three places to rank #4 in the industry from #7 in 2018

• LuLu dropped to #5 in 2019, down three places from being #2 in 2018

• 61.5% of millennials felt an immediate emotional connection with Amazon

In addition to the study findings, MBLM examined what the formal entry of Amazon and its Prime membership means for retailers in the UAE and how they can create a successful online retail presence in an article entitled, “With Amazon now in the UAE, what does it mean for local retailers?”.

Methodology: During 2018, MBLM with Praxis Research Partners conducted an online quantitative survey among 6,200 consumers in the U.S. (3,000), Mexico (2,000), and the United Arab Emirates (1,200). Participants were respondents who were screened for age (18 to 64 years of age) and annual household income ($35,000 or more) in the U.S. and socioeconomic levels in Mexico and the UAE (A, B, and C socioeconomic levels). Quotas were established to ensure that the sample mirrored census data for age, gender, income/socioeconomic level, and region. The survey was designed primarily to understand the extent to which consumers have relationships with brands and the strength of those relationships from fairly detached to highly intimate. It is important to note that this research provides more than a mere ranking of brand performance and was specifically designed to provide prescriptive guidance to marketers. We modeled data from over 6,200 interviews and approximately 56,000 brand evaluations to quantify the mechanisms that drive intimacy. Through factor analysis, structural equation modeling, and other sophisticated analytic techniques, the research allows marketers to better understand which levers need to be pulled to build intimacy between their brand and consumers. Thus, marketers will understand not only where their brand falls in the hierarchy of performance but also how to strengthen performance in the future.

About MBLM:
MBLM is the Brand Intimacy Agency, delivering expertise and offerings across three areas of focus: Agency, Lab and Platform. With offices in seven countries, our multidisciplinary teams help clients build stronger bonds and deliver optimized marketing outcomes and returns for the long term. To learn more about how we can help you create and sustain ultimate brand relationships, visit 

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