PwC reveals Middle East findings of its Global Consumer Insights Survey

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Consumers are increasingly using digital technology and have a growing expectation of instant gratification. For the past eleven years, PwC has surveyed thousands of consumers across the globe every year to track their shopping behaviour, lifestyle habits and more. This year, we focused on 19,000 urban consumers in 29 countries, including 1,002 respondents in the Middle East region.

The Middle East findings of PwC’s Global Consumer Insights survey released today at the Retail Leaders Circle MENA Summit examine consumer preferences in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Riyadh, Jeddah and Cairo — to really understand where and how consumers shop, what their lifestyle is like and why they choose to live in their respective cities.

Norma Taki, Middle East Consumer Markets Leader at PwC comments:

“Convenience is key to Middle East consumers and they are willing to spend to get it. This is reflected by the reliance on food delivery apps, willingness to pay for super quick delivery and use of mobile payment platforms. To capitalise on this, companies should continue to invest in creating seamless customer journeys that ensure that consumers can complete their purchases with minimum amount of friction.”

Key findings

Abu Dhabi

  • Consumers in Abu Dhabi tend to be more cautious with their spending compared to consumers in other cities in the Middle East — almost a third plan to keep their personal spend the same in the next 12 months.
  • Favour in-store shopping more than consumers in other cities in the Middle East.
  • Are frequent users of mobile payment platforms, such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet, to pay for purchases in-store.


  • Consumers in Dubai tend to access mobile loyalty and rewards coupons via apps, such as the Entertainer, more than consumers in the rest of the region and globally.
  • Use online grocery delivery services weekly and rely on food delivery apps more than consumers in other cities in the Middle East — in fact just 7% of respondents in Dubai said they never use food delivery apps.
  • Consider safety and security the primary reason for living in their city.


  • Consumers in Riyadh shop online via smartphones — more than consumers in other cities in the Middle East — and are most likely to place an order using a mobile app, pay ahead and collect their purchase in-store.
  • Are most likely to order a meal kit from a food delivery subscription service at least once a week and are most inclined to book their hotel stays and other accommodation exclusively online.


  • Consumers in Jeddah are most likely to purchase the majority of their groceries online and to shop using a tablet.
  • Make more purchases using an in-store app than consumers in other cities in the region. They also pick up ready to eat meals at the supermarket at least once a week — almost a third of them do so more than two times a week.


  • Consumers in Cairo are particularly bullish, with two thirds planning to spend more in the next 12 months than they did last year.
  • Are least likely among those surveyed in the region to shop online using their smartphone because of connectivity issues. Instead, they prefer to use more traditional shopping channels.
  • Indicate overwhelmingly that the main reason they live in their city is their social network.

For a full copy of the report please visit:

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