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NFO Merac Study Reveals Meaningful Shifts In The Gulf Arab Consumer Psyche

Added: (Fri Sep 07 2001)

Pressbox (Press Release) - Dubai, United Arab Emirates - 7 September 2001 (PRN): NFO Merac, the largest custom marketing research company in the Middle East, has recently completed an innovative market research study entitled ‘THE ARAB AS CONSUMER 2001’. This syndicated qualitative survey provides an in-depth look at the Gulf Arab consumer psyche and gives insights into their modern lifestyles and how they relate to marketing and brand communications.

“Arab consumers across the GCC used to dress the same way, buy the same kinds of brands and drive the same kind of cars. However, the advent of satellite television has changed all that. It has given them a window on the world and exposed them to foreign cultures” said Ken McDermott, Director of Special Projects, NFO Merac. “They are fascinated by some of the lifestyle freedoms available in the West and this has sometimes caused a radical reappraisal of their own attitudes and values. “

Emergence of consumer typologies
It became apparent that different clusters or typologies of consumers are emerging. By examining both their public and private worlds and the extent to which they are Outer-directed (Us) or Inner-directed (Me), NFO Merac has identified 4 discrete clusters: Us/Us, Us/Me, Me/Us and Me/Me.

Briefly, the Us/Us consumer types are collectively driven in both their worlds, with individual needs suppressed for the greater good of the community.

“These consumers tend to be especially religious and anti-Western,” says McDermott. “They perceive Western values to be morally bankrupt and spiritually deficient. They have recently called for boycotting of American brands in response to what they see as the pro-Israeli stance of the US government in the Palestinian conflict.” The ongoing sizing estimation of this cluster will help American companies to better understand the scale of the potential boycott problem.

The Us/Me consumers are also collectivist but searching for more private space in their private world. They tend to be unmarried, living with their parents and focused on securing a sound base for their future. They see themselves as more “open-minded” than the Us/Us group. Girls are getting married later than before and enjoying adolescence for the first time.

The Me/Us cluster tends to be married and has chosen to move away from the extended home to a nuclear arrangement. The “Us” therefore relates here to family in a narrower sense spouse and offspring. Young Me/Us wives resent the interference in their private affairs that occurs in the extended family and demand a house of their own. Alongside this a more openly caring, egalitarian male is emerging.

Finally, there are the Me/Me’s who tend to be young adults and teenagers who are searching for more Western-style personal freedoms and who are preoccupied with satisfying their personal need to express their developing self-identity in ways that sometimes challenge the established order.

Shared values
NFO Merac has also mapped the shared values of consumers so that if marketers choose to stay with mass marketing, they are better able to asses the extent of the compromise and design the compromise brand communication.

Comment from client
Sahar Shaker, Head of Planning at Saatchi and Saatchi in Dubai says: “THE ARAB AS CONSUMER 2001 provides rich insights into the contemporary lives of the GCC consumer whilst also giving a taste of the future.”

NFO Merac
An NFO WorldGroup company, NFO Merac has a specialized knowledge of the Arabian culture and markets, providing added value research solutions to a wide range of international clients.

About NFO
NFO WorldGroup is one of the world’s leading providers of research-based marketing information and counsel. “Marketing minds who specialize in research” TM, NFO has facilitated Fortune 500 clients’ business decisions for more than 50 years by providing in-depth knowledge and understanding of consumers and brands through research. Their services include comprehensive counsel on market evaluation, product development, brand management, customer satisfaction, pricing, distribution and advertising effectiveness. NFO is a worldwide leader in Internet-based research and maintains one of the world’s largest interactive panel communities. They are one of The Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE:IPG), and have majority-owned operations in 40 countries. Visit NFO WorldGroup on the web (www.nfow.com).

The press release can also be viewed at http://www.pressreleasenetwork.com

For a free copy of THE ARAB AS CONSUMER 2001 PRESS KIT (including CD) or for more information, please contact:

Ken McDermott (Mohammed Suhaib)
Director- Special Projects
NFO Merac
Dubai, UAE
Tel: + 9714 2822688 ext. 260
Fax: + 9714 2822711
E-mail: kenmcd@nfomerac.com

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