- 25% of consumers in the UAE and KSA are reluctant to invest in brands with environmentally harmful products, surpassing the global average.
- 40% invested in new brands, products and services.
Toluna, a global market research, consumer insights, and technology provider, hosted its annual Simply Smart in Dubai for the second year. The event brought together industry experts and thought leaders to discuss the latest trends and insights in consumer behaviour and how brands are facing market challenges. The event presented the key takeaways from the latest wave of Toluna’s Global Consumer Barometer, highlighting consumer preferences across UAE and KSA and underscoring the importance of agile strategies in the fast-paced regional market landscape.
The event featured a panel of executives from well-known regional and global players, including Beatriz Benedetti, Head of Marketing and Innovation at BRF; Sabreena Jamal, Research Manager and Quantitative Lead at Publicis Groupe; and Oscar Jamhouri, CEO BXG. Toluna MEA was represented by Georges Akkaoui, Enterprise Account Director, Manisha Juneja, Market Research Lead, Maria Padmanabhan, Business Development Manager, and Marco Gastaut, Managing Director Italy, Spain, MEA & Chief Sales Officer DACH.
Manisha Juneja delivered the main findings of Toluna’s Barometer Wave 22, revealing that survey respondents, particularly in the UAE, are prioritizing personal financial security and actively saving money. As a result, they are postponing major expenses and planning to reduce non-essential spending in the coming months. To counteract the effects, brands are advised to implement smart pricing strategies, such as offering smaller packaging options, to cater to consumers' cost-saving preferences. The report also emphasized the importance of loyalty programs in engaging customers and providing cost-saving benefits and maintaining their market share.
Another highlight brought forth by the Barometer is an emphasis on sustainability among consumers in the UAE and KSA. More than 25% of respondents mentioned they refrain from investing in brands they deem detrimental to society and the environment, surpassing the global average. This follows from the region’s growing awareness of sustainability in the context of the UAE’s goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 'net zero' by 2050.
The research also unveiled that over 40% of consumers had recently tried a new brand, product, or service. This highlighted consumers' propensity to switch brands, emphasizing the need for businesses to establish customer loyalty. Furthermore, 25% of consumers expressed dissatisfaction with the current level of innovation, signalling unmet needs and areas for improvement. Juneja commented: “Brands are advised to invest in innovation, creating unique value propositions that enhance customer loyalty in the market and to prioritize sustainable measures to effectively engage with consumers and enhance their brand reputation. We encourage them to conduct in-depth research to gain a deeper understanding of consumer preferences and adapt their products and services, accordingly, ensuring they meet evolving consumer needs and retain their market share”.
Beatriz Benedetti, from BRF Sadia, one of the biggest poultry and meat processing companies in the world, addressed the challenges posed by changing consumer demands. Benedetti emphasized the necessity of agility in today's market and highlighted the importance of having the right tools, particularly for innovation, to comprehensively test concepts and effectively understand consumers preferences.
George Akkaoui stressed the growing need for agility in an increasingly intricate market research ecosystem. Akkaoui highlighted the inefficiencies and frustrations associated with managing multiple vendors, navigating diverse systems, and the lack of customization and economies of scale. To tackle these challenges, Akkaoui emphasized the importance of an agile, flexible, and scalable platform that can facilitate the design, implementation, and delivery of cutting-edge research in real-time, highlighting Toluna's exceptional expertise in this domain and the qual and quant capabilities of Toluna Start.
Sabreena Jamal, Research Manager and Quantitative Lead at Publicis Groupe, praised the Toluna Start platform, saying that it empowers her team to meet goals efficiently, handle client requests with agility and, finally, execute projects in-house. Jamal also underscored Toluna Start's ability to manage the entire lifecycle of a project to achieve her team’s research objectives effectively and efficiently.
Marco Gastaut, on his part, brought the wider perspective underscoring the company's commitment to providing versatility and global reach through its research platform and an array of automated solutions that give brands the ability to get the answers they need for timely decision-making. Gastaut emphasized that Toluna's services and solutions are developed with clients’ needs and feedback at their core, to meet the demand for a platform with an end-to-end and holistic approach to market research, a fully automated and customizable array of solutions, and instant scalability for resource optimisation.
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