Research drives consumer buying behaviour, finds PwC’s Pulse report
PwC’s latest Middle East Pulse report highlights that consumers in the Middle East are more aware and better-informed buyers who are empowered by the latest technology and seek out information before making a final decision on a purchase.
According to the report, consumers rely on research and technology as they finalise their purchase decisions: Consumers are revealed as price-conscious individuals who typically use their smartphones or connected devices to compare prices online and in-store. A salient attribute of regional consumers is shown to be sustainability, which remains a top priority. Moreover, a generally younger and tech-savvy population in the Middle East is more likely than consumers globally to use emerging technologies during their purchase journeys.
In-store shopping is preferred and self-checkouts are gaining a foothold, despite the rise in online buying: More than 50 percent of regional consumers prefer using self-checkout in a physical store because it is faster, has a more responsive touch screen and has a greater variety of payment options. Also, 42 percent of regional consumers use it as it enables them to purchase products directly from the shelves without the need to wait in long queues.
Consumers, particularly millennials and GenZs, prefer to visit a brand’s website for more product information so they can make an informed decision. The website experience was key to 68 percent of Middle East survey participants, who directly purchased products from the brand’s website.
More than 20 percent of regional consumers would be willing to pay 11-20 percent above the average price for a product produced locally. 20 percent regionally are willing to pay the same percentage for products that have a lower carbon footprint or by a company with ethical practices such as supporting human rights or avoiding animal testing.
67 percent of consumers in the Middle East would like to be the first to buy cutting-edge technology as soon as it is available and to try out the latest technology before most people - a trend is significantly higher than 48 percent of the global respondents. Consumers are also showing greater interest in chatbots (57 percent vs 44 percent globally) keen to use them for product information. More than 40 percent are interested in other chatbot functions like retailer customer service, product alerts, updates, and customised offers.
32 percent of regional consumers subscribe to household grocery delivery services like fruit and vegetable boxes and meal kits. Cosmetics, wellbeing supplements, tea, coffee, cleaning supplies, grooming products, clothing services and online fitness apps are products that more than 20 percent of regional consumers currently buy using subscription services.
With higher awareness levels, the report reveals an uptake in the use of specialised price comparison platforms to complement search engines, social media, and word-of-mouth as consumers show more price-conscious attitudes.