Spending patterns of UAE residents revealed

What determines how, where and why we spend on the things we do? When we talk about consumer segmentation in the UAE, the focus is typically on demographic-based information, such as age, income, nationality or occupation. While these characteristics are important as a first step to understand consumers, I believe there are psychological factors that have a large impact on segmentation, and can produce unifying behaviors even among a seemingly diverse group of people.

I’d like to explore the concept of spending patterns in the UAE through the creation of 5 behavior-based personas, which are purely based on observations of behavior patterns when it comes to spending habits.

Super Savers

Favorite Quote: Save big, spend wisely

These are cost-conscious individuals that make saving a priority. Typically family-oriented, and could live with family in the UAE, or send money back home. Prioritize affordable yet comfortable housing, but prestige is not important. Engage in frequent leisure outings, such as meet-ups with family and friends at familiar locations, but heavy spending is reserved for special occasions. When it comes to shopping, value for money is key. Investing in long-term goals and stable, low-risk strategies for financial security are significant drivers.

#YOLO Experiencers

Favorite Quote: Spend well – you only live once

These individuals live for the moment, and spend on experiences they find unique and interesting. This could be the latest restaurant, a new outdoor activity, a coveted vacation spot, or anything else that pertains to their interests. Time is valued, hence they seek out the best opportunities available. Saving is not a big priority, as the focus is on short-term goals; however, a level of financial independence is maintained to sustain spending activities. Fulfilling individual goals and supporting peer group aspirations are strong drivers.

Image-driven buyers

Favorite Quote: Spend to be seen

These individuals spend to achieve and maintain prestige, reputation and peer admiration. Typically spend larger amounts, but in a planned manner– whether it be on shopping, leisure activities, housing, or other investments. Brand recognition and loyalty are the strongest within this group, and ample research is done before a brand becomes a regular staple in the individual’s buying pattern. Financial security is a priority, but typically takes the form of targeted investments versus long-term saving schemes.

Deal Hunters

Favorite Quote: Spend smart

These individuals are generally on the lookout for the best deals to spend in a smart, efficient manner. Cost-conscious to an extent, but also interested in a variety of luxurious or thrill-seeking experiences. Trust and transparency from brands are most important to this group, as the quality of deals is valued very highly. They are the key audience for deal-based sites, along with radio/social media competitions and sweepstakes. Typically have a tight-knit social circle to share experiences. Focus on achieving a balance between spending, saving and investing.

Casual Spenders

Favorite Quote: Spend on small luxuries

These individuals spend on routine, but enjoyable experiences. Typically have fixed spending patterns for big-ticket items, but can be prone to impulse buying for smaller purchases. Aim to maintain a casual, relaxed lifestyle, and put in some thought to plan finances accordingly. Quality and reliability are of key importance, hence this group is strong on repeating purchase patterns and behavior – be it restaurants, shopping, housing, vacation destinations etc. Focus on maintaining a fairly steady pool of financial resources, hence are careful with larger purchases to avoid disrupting these patterns; appreciate convenience and value over prestige.

It can be possible to identify with more than one of the five personas, based on your current circumstances. As this is a purely observational study, there is definitely scope for more in-depth research into the characteristics and causes behind each persona.

Also published on Kipp Report