Saudi consumer behaviour is “radically changing”

With the rise and success of Saudi entrepreneurs and local SMEs, Saudi businesses are competing with the international players, writes Horizon's Tony Rouhana

n my thirty five years of living and working in Saudi Arabia, the last decade has been a truly transformative period for the Kingdom, whether it’s on a societal or an industry level, the changes have been positive and impactful.

The society as a whole has become very open and progressive, and yet still values its culture.

The young generation respects the traditions of the past, but are not bound by it. They look to the future in a positive way, and feel that there are more opportunities available for them.

One of the biggest societal shifts has been the growing number of Saudi females in the workforce. Even within advertising, we have more females working in the industry in various capacities. This is extremely helpful as they make up the majority of our target audience.   

Speaking of target audience, even consumer behaviour has been radically changing as the digitally native youth, which comprise the majority of the population, have shifted heavily to online shopping and a reliance on delivery apps for most of their needs.

This can be contributed to convenience, and also the development of the e-commerce sector, as the Kingdom further pushes towards establishing a digital economy.

We have also witnessed Saudi consumers becoming more conscious, and choosing products and services that properly represent the Saudi society and its values and beliefs. There is also more effort in purchasing Saudi made products/brands.

With the rise and success of Saudi entrepreneurs and local SMEs, Saudi businesses are competing with the international players, especially in the many coffee shops, restaurants and fashion brands that have become
popular trends.

This can all be attributed to the ambitious goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which has invested heavily in diversifying the Saudi economy. As one of the first international advertising agencies in the Kingdom, our services have been commissioned to develop Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry, to tap into its various regions, diverse landscapes, and their respective cultures and heritage.

The goal is to position Saudi Arabia as one of the top tourism destinations in the world, and to further develop the domestic tourism industry to attract more locals.

Saudi Arabia is in a transformative phase, and should continue to capitalise on its growth potential. The focus should be on nurturing a vibrant digital economy, creating a diverse and welcoming environment, and investing in its human capital to ensure a prosperous future.

By Tony Rouhana, Vice President, AlAfak | Horizon FCB Saudi Arabia