Point-of-Sale transactions decrease for 6th week in a row in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: UAE consumers are buying a wider range of brands than they were before the pandemic, according to a NielsenIQ survey.

It found that consumers were looking for their perfect brand match, with 68 percent of respondents believing they could find a brand that met their exact needs if they looked hard enough.

Its findings were published in the Brand Balancing Act study, which focuses on how inflationary pressures are changing the way small and medium-sized brands can justify their worth while also remaining aligned with the core values that consumers seek.

The survey showed that 66 percent of UAE consumers preferred to buy locally made products from small businesses in their area, and 67 percent said that where possible they tried to support small brands, although these were becoming more difficult to find on the shelf.

Of those who took part in the survey, 59 percent said small brands were more authentic and trustworthy than large brands.

While smaller brands are typically more expensive, 54 percent of UAE consumers indicated that they were willing to pay a little more. The global average was 47 percent.

“Despite being largely ‘unfamiliar’ by respondents in terms of notoriety, small and medium brands have a great opportunity in today’s changed consumer landscape,” said Lauren Fernandes, global director of thought leadership at NielsenIQ. “Our data shows that price pressures and the ongoing pandemic have changed consumer needs and their relative expectations of brands of different sizes.”

Good value for money, product quality, and meeting specific dietary and health needs were among the most important factors for consumers – 90 percent of survey respondents – when making purchasing decisions.

With prices rising across the board, affordability is a major factor driving this trend in functional purchasing.

“With 48 percent of global respondents saying that they plan to buy more from smaller brands in the future, the small and medium-sized businesses who can understand motivators for purchase in this new landscape will most likely benefit from consumers’ updated preferences,” added Fernandes. “Today’s macroeconomic environment has created a perfect storm for small and medium-sized businesses to connect with consumers. But that same storm could shadow smaller brands before they can scale.

“The key will be finding the right levers, based on the right consumer data, to innovate in meaningful ways.”