UAE, Saudi consumers trust global brands more than consumers elsewhere, survey shows

But they are less likely to pay for products and services with their mobiles

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Almost half of online consumers in Saudi Arabia and the UAE trust big global brands more than consumers elsewhere but they are less likely to pay with their mobiles for online purchases than those in the developed world, according to a new survey.

Just 21 per cent of consumers in developed markets in the US and 15 per cent in France trust big global brands, according to a poll from global research firm Kantar TNS.

Kantar TNS's latest Connected Life research polled 70,000 people across 56 countries between May and August this year.

“The level of suspicion differs starkly depending on where you are in the world. In developed countries, the erosion of trust has been much more dramatic – driven by consumer experience with new technology, online content, usage of personal data and ecommerce,” said Stephen Hillebrand, the chief executive of Kantar Insights Middle East and North Africa. “In contrast, overall trust levels in Middle East and Africa are relatively high – giving regional brands an opportunity.”


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But 47 per cent of connected consumers in the UAE do not want to pay for products and services with their mobile, unlike consumers in China, where 64 per cent do so.

Only one in four connected consumers in Saudi Arabia are concerned about social networks’ control of what users see in their feeds.

“Online users in the UAE and Saudi Arabia trust new technologies and brand content on social media,” said Mr Hillebrand. “This is reflected in their willingness to embrace new things and express themselves freely. However, when it comes to sharing personal data, they still have concerns and expect to get something in return.”

Thirty-five per cent of consumers in Saudi Arabia and 39 per cent in the UAE object to connected devices monitoring their activities even if it makes their lives easier.

Thirty per cent in the UAE and 26 per cent in Saudi Arabia are concerned with the amount of information companies have about them, compared with 72 per cent in Poland and 60 per cent in the US.

Overall in the Middle East and Africa region, a quarter of consumers say that the content brands post on social media is irrelevant, compared with half of consumers in North America and France.

“Across our region and especially in Saudi Arabia, brands need to respect social and cultural values in order to build trust,” said Mr Hillebrand. “Beyond relevance of the offer, brands need to be consistent in their communications and customer experience.”