Middle East is one of the most affluent regions in the world with a lot of High Net-worth individuals
The entire GCC and Middle East region has high disposable income among Arab nationals due oil revenues, to no income tax and high salaries leading to a significant number of HNWIs in the region.
Market Research among HNWIs
Researching HNWIs is very different here compared to doing it in the west. Market research agencies in the Middle East have learnt that using research methodologies successful elsewhere have to be tweaked for this region. Since this region is seen as high growth for luxury brands and high end hospitality brands, it is interesting to know how things are different here – Both for Qualitative and Quantitative research.
F2F interviews vs. Telephone (CATI) vs. Online Panels
Let us start with Qualitative research in Saudi Arabia as an example. Most high net worth individuals are not on online panels as they are older (Though there is going to be a boom in inherited millionaires in the next 10 years). They will not want to do telephone interviews as it is not a part of Arab culture to divulge information to a stranger on the phone. The need to bond and relationships are far more important than a market research ‘contract’ between a respondent and researcher/interviewer/moderator
HNWIs are fragmented
Given that there are multiple nationalities and cultures living in this region, the needs and outlook of individual cultures are different. What an Arab HNWI aspires to is very different to what a Westerner seeks
Research providers use a variety of Qualitative and Quantitative techniques and use B2B databases in line with the ESOMAR code of conduct
Make me feel important
Conducting Market Research in the Middle East and Africa among this segment is fascinating as they want to feel important and this comes from meeting them in an upmarket hotel or F2F at their home or office – Showing them that their time is valuable and you are going out of the way to meet them. Even when conducting B2 research a face to Face interview using CAPI is better than CATI – it time and budget permits
Since not a lot of financial data is disclosed by Gulf organisations as there is no taxation and hence B2B or HNWI research becomes more difficult compared to evolved markets where Focus Groups, IDIs, market research surveys, CAPI and F2F for primary data collection are a ‘financial contract’ between the research agency and the respondnent.
Role of Market Research agencies
Luxury goods loot at the middle east as one of the boom regions as they are stagnating elsewhere and both GCC and North Africa have their higher than average share of millionaires
It is time that luxury brands start investing in market research and understand needs of their HNWI consumers and their B2B partners
Unboxed Consulting is an Independent Market research agency based in UAE with capabilities across the region and is an ESOMAR affiliated agency that does Qualitative research and Quantitative Consumer research, B2B and HNWI research as well as work among Ultra High networth individuals (HNWIs). They have access to Focusvision venues in UAE and Saudi Arabia (KSA). Its founder Dipen Mehta has been working in the Middle East with various Consumer FMCG , Luxury brands, Telecom, finance and hospitality brands over two decades. Their footprint spreads over Middle East, GCC, Levant, North Africa and India.