Health trend grows in UAE and Saudi Arabia
December 1, 2009
Consumers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia are increasingly interested in health issues, according to a new report from Datamonitor.
Its study, Profiting from Consumer Mega-Trends in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, reveals 79% of UAE and Saudi consumers place greater importance on their health than they did two years ago. It also highlights how companies can access, and benefit from, increasing consumer health-awareness.
The report is based on 2,000 consumer interviews, 1,000 in the UAE and 1,000 in Saudi Arabia and it shows how consumersí relationship with health is becoming multifaceted.
Dieting is still a major feature of regional consumer behaviour; 38% of UAE and 35% of Saudi consumers are still trying to diet on a regular basis, it says.
However, consumers are no longer focused solely on reducing food intake or avoiding bad nutrients. Nearly two thirds - 62% - of UAE and 55% of Saudi consumers are actively seeking out products with added health benefits.
According to researchers, product labeling has become a major consumer issue with 61% of UAE and 56% of Saudi consumers stating they use information written on packaging to make product choices all or most of the time.
Manufacturers need to respond with clearer labels which can be digested at a glance, says Datamonitor.
Currently 42% of UAE and 46% of Saudi consumers find health-related information confusing, indicating a greater need for improvement.
An increased sensitivity to allergies and intolerances is another emerging trend of heightened health awareness, the report finds. Currently, 68% of UAE and 75% of Saudi consumers avoid products because of allergy/intolerance fears. Clever product labeling, which also advertises what a product lacks can help manufacturers establish a price premium for products and cement brand loyalty, it says.
Product transparency is becoming much more important for food, beverage and personal care players as supply chains become longer, more complex and transnational, Datamonitor adds. Simple measures, like specifying product country of origin have a significant effect on product choice, it says.
The report shows health is increasingly viewed in holistic terms by consumers in the Middle Eastern region. Not only are they more conscious of the potential health benefits of living an ethical life, many are proactively trying to live a balanced, sustainable lifestyle.
Stress levels and demands on time, particularly in the wake of the global financial crisis, have become more acute, it says.
More than half of UAE and Saudi consumers now feel more stressed than they did six months ago. However, health-aware consumers are actively seeking stress-relieving solutions and means to maximise leisure time. Marketing communications need to empathise with consumersí struggle to achieve a more rounded and healthier lifestyle, advises Datamonitor.
December 2009 Issue