Published Jan 26, 2023
Manisha Juneja, Market Research Lead at Toluna MEA
“New Year, New Me.” We hear this phrase a lot around the new year, every year!
In an endeavour to improve their quality of life, many people treat the beginning of the new year as ‘a blank slate.’ They use this time of year to reflect on their previous year – the feats, the learnings, the missed opportunities, and so on – and assess what truly matters to them so they can work towards their goals in the coming year. In order to gauge these priority areas for 2023, we conducted a new year’s resolution(s) survey among UAE and KSA residents, which in turn will inform brands about their consumers’ likely behaviors and potential opportunities to tap into this year.
What did we learn? Of those who made resolutions for 2023, more than 50% have committed to put conscious effort towards adopting healthy eating habits, following a regular exercise regimen, and spending quality time with their loved ones. Other primary objectives for the year include maintaining a healthy work-life balance and managing finances better. The great news is that majority of them are quite confident that they’ll be successful in accomplishing their 2023 resolution(s).
Above all else, UAE and KSA residents are attaching highest importance to their health, as two-thirds of resolution-makers are focusing on ‘eating healthy’ in 2023. Some of the specific actions they will take to achieve this goal include consuming fresh food that did not undergo any industrial processing; eating more home-cooked food and less of takeout food/eating out; paying more attention to the nutritional value of food products; and checking for healthy ingredients. Accordingly, it is crucial that brands regularly communicate on the nutritional value of their food products. At the same time, they must emphasize the freshness of their products and the use of healthy ingredients to connect with their consumers and strengthen their market standing.
Beyond eating healthy, it’s interesting to note that half of Middle Eastern resolution-makers have made travel goals—on average, they plan to take four international trips in 2023. For UAE residents, the top destinations of consideration include Turkey, KSA, UK, and USA. Meanwhile, Saudi residents are inclined to travel to UAE, Turkey, and Egypt. Travel and tourism players can potentially take advantage of this travel enthusiasm by offering customized and budget-friendly holiday packages.
Furthermore, one-fifth of those who made 2023 resolution(s) revealed that they’ll be undertaking big-ticket expenses this year, such as purchasing a new car, high-end electronics, or investing in real estate. Some have plans to buy gold/diamond jewellery and pamper themselves by shopping from designer and luxury brands. As a result, we expect a positive outlook for these sectors in 2023.
When it comes to marcom strategy, it is noteworthy that about 30% of the UAE and KSA residents have expressed their intention to spend less time on social media platforms. While UAE residents plan to spend less time on Instagram and Facebook, KSA residents aim to interact less with Instagram and Snapchat. Against this backdrop, it is essential for brands to keep an eye on the ROI of the social media channels they are utilizing to ensure their social media marketing mix stays robust.
Last but not the least, despite speculation of an impending global recession in 2023, about 60% of UAE & Saudi residents believe that their life will be ‘much better in 2023 in comparison to 2022,’ exhibiting optimism about their quality of life in the Middle East.
In a nutshell, there are positive sentiments among Middle Easterns for the new year, coupled with renewed focus on their health, a desire for leisure travel, and a resolve to reduce time on social media. For food and beverage brands, this means it’s critical to build a strong reputation for selling healthy and nutritious products. Meanwhile, players in the travel and tourism sector can benefit from residents’ passion for travel by communicating more on cost-efficient, personally tailored offerings. Above all else, enhancing quality of life has to be at the center of brand propositions.