Saudi consumers ready for pre-pandemic levels of shopping and travel, survey finds

Nearly 93% of those polled said Covid-19 made them think more carefully about their spending

Female shoppers wearing traditional Saudi Arabian dress browse watches on sale at a luxury concession stand inside the Kingdom Centre shopping mall in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Saudi Arabia is working to reduce the Middle East’s biggest economy’s reliance on oil, which provides three-quarters of government revenue, as part of a plan for the biggest economic shakeup since the country’s founding. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

About 88 per cent of consumers in Saudi Arabia aged between 25 and 34 are ready to revert to pre-pandemic shopping, travel and holiday experiences as the kingdom’s economy recovers from the pandemic-induced slowdown.

Nearly 93 per cent of consumers said the Covid-19 pandemic made them think more carefully about how they spend their money, according to a report by Sitecore, a digital experience management software provider, which polled 326 respondents in Saudi Arabia over a 10-day period in July.

“Our research shows pent-up demand and more savings than usual will result in younger consumers splurging on self-care and big-ticket items at the register, which is great news for those in retail, travel and hospitality,” said Mohammed Alkhotani, area vice-president for the Middle East and Africa at Sitecore.

Quote
Pent-up demand and more savings than usual will result in younger consumers splurging on self-care and big-ticket items at the register
Mohammed Alkhotani, area vice-president for Middle East and Africa, Sitecore

While many people globally had their incomes reduced or lost their jobs during the pandemic, Covid-19 highlighted the importance of saving and having an emergency fund for short-term liquidity needs.

About 72 per cent of consumers in Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s biggest economy, are optimistic that the kingdom's economy will rebound within two to three months despite the impact of the pandemic, according to a survey by global consultancy McKinsey in March this year.

Saudi Arabia's swift response to the Covid-19 pandemic has softened the blow of the global crisis on the country, which is expected to grow 2.4 per cent this year and 4.8 per cent in 2022, the International Monetary Fund said.

About 79 per cent of consumers in Saudi Arabia plan to make bigger and more mindful holiday purchases this year, according to Sitecore. This is partly because 76 per cent of consumers in the kingdom have more savings set aside for holidays this year compared with last year, the survey found.

Buying locally made gifts is also emerging as a priority for consumers in Saudi Arabia, with 69 per cent of respondents willing to pay extra to support local businesses.

About 95 per cent of consumers said it is essential that retailers in Saudi Arabia offer more products from local businesses, but only 66 per cent said they see more locally made products while shopping, the survey said.

Meanwhile, 46 per cent of those buying a gift for themselves cited “therapy” as the main reason for their splurge.

And while 87 per cent of the consumers under the age of 44 said they value travel and appreciate other cultures more after the pandemic, 85 per cent said they were planning “the trip of a lifetime”.

Updated: September 20th 2021, 12:27 PM
EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS