This month saw the Arab Luxury World Forum take place in Dubai which is a summit that celebrates and discusses the growth of the luxury sector within the Middle East. The Gulf region’s version of Arab Luxury World was necessary to bring the industry together once in a year in a place where there is a demand and huge market for luxury brands and goods. The summit explores the region’s developing trends, shopping habits, and also shares and exchanges knowledge and research on the subject of luxury consumption within the Middle East.
Arab Luxury World brings together global and regional luxury brands, as well as the agents, distributors, mall operators, retailers, service providers, global consultancy firms, media agencies and luxury associations under one roof, to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the industry.
Saudi Arabia being one of the very much relevant consumer markets of luxury goods, was also discussed by Mathieu Yarak of the Choueiri Group, as they conducted a research, in collaboration with Ipsos, in which the shopping habits of wealthy Saudi Arabian women were discovered. With watches, jewellery and handbags being the luxury goods they shop for the most, 350 affluent women participated in the research in which they were interviewed about how the way in which they purchase luxury items.
The research highlighted a Saudi woman’s thought process and “journey” when they set out to buy from luxury brands and Yarak explained at the conference that their purchasing process involves 4 steps: “Research; shortlisting; reassurance and purchasing.”
Choueiri Group’s Mathieu Yarak went on to explain that the idea of “change or reward”, was a key factor for Saudi women when it comes to buying a luxury good, and the results of the survey showed that a large majority of the women who participated, voted that they made their decisions to purchase a luxury item by looking it up on the brand’s website, as well as looking to social media for further assurance. When selecting the item, the following influences play a role: “the brand’s identity, price and country of origin, with the traditional association of France and Switzerland with bags and watches,” as reported by Arab News.
Yarak highlights the fact that the above aspects are considered when shopping, drives home that heritage is important to Saudi women, when it comes to high end brands and are not happy to consider purchasing these goods online, despite researching the items on the brand’s respective website where purchasing online is an option. According to Saudi women, the customer service they get in stores plays a big part for them as it is all part of the “luxury experience.” Not only was there a focus on the journey from researching to purchasing in a luxury store, Saudi women also voiced that they wanted to see more “local advertising” in Arabic, with use of models that also look Middle Eastern.
In 2019, the luxury industry is seeing a number of changes as new technologies, a generational change in the way people are now choosing to buy luxury, and big changes within the business models of large corporations seem to be changing the face of the luxury industry.