MediaBrands research study reveals key Saudi consumer media trends

Empowering brands to become ‘top of mind’ and uncover actionable insights.


The report’s insightful data will empower brands to become ‘top of mind’ with Saudi consumers and dramatically increase their penetration of the Kingdom’s market

Overall Outlook

As the second-largest Arab state with a total population of around 35 million inhabitants, Saudi Arabia is expanding and has a current growth rate of 1.59% – a percentage that analysts say will continue to increase steadily till 2060.

A large section of this growing population in KSA is expected to be young, tech-savvy, hyper-connected citizens who are eager for the opportunities the country’s digital transformation will bring. Indeed, with the huge improvement and expansion of digital technology, all KSA consumers will evolve.

From a media standpoint, a MediaBrands proprietary research study was conducted to gain an understanding of customer behaviour in KSA across various digital touchpoints – an insight into consumers’ media usage and time spent, as well as gaining visibility on consumer lifestyles, technology adoption and shopping habits.

Overall findings

Social Media consumption

Social platforms consumption:

  1. Penetration of going online on any device is 95% in KSA
  2. On average, Instagram (76%), Snap (73%) and Twitter (71%) all see a high penetration of platform usage (used last month)
  3. 21% used a social network site and 15% watched video content for more than 5 hours.
  4. The highest share amongst age groups on Snapchat and TikTok was 16-24 years old’s with Snap (32%) and TikTok (33%)

*In reference to the second point

These platforms are ultra-engaging and the most popular with Saudis. Being built on video content, they offer consumers a way to discover, watch and be entertained with the highest penetration among 16-24 years old’s often watching videos once a week or more with Snapchat having the highest penetration at 70% followed by Instagram (67%), Twitter (56%), TikTok (54%).


Once a week or more often 22% 67% 54% 56% 70%

The breadth of video content is one of the big reasons why more people are consuming videos on social platforms as on average more than 1/4th of the Saudi population spends 3+ hours consuming video content (Facebook – 20%, Instagram – 28%, TikTok – 26%, Twitter – 24%. Snapchat -31%). Although penetrations are concentrated around the young population, many of the affluent users (HHI SAR 20K+ are also using social platforms as they imbed such platforms and content into their daily lives with a 75% penetration in the last 30 days, ~54% have used social platforms once a week or more often and 1/3rd spend more than 3 hours a day.

Crucially, demand is growing for video snippets of fresh, short, and digestible content that makes it easy to spend hours on a platform without getting bored.

With this in mind, brands should look to develop content that steers away from being product/sales focused and is instead creative, relevant to the region and resonates with customers. This will entice them to interact with the brand online.

User engagement

In terms of time spent online, the MediaBrands study also revealed some key statistics that brands can use to engage with their audiences:

  1. Respondents spend the most time on YouTube (90%), with 18% spending more than 5 hours
  2. This was followed by 14% listening to music services [e.g. Spotify, Anghami] every day and 21% typically spending between 1 – 3 hours
  3. A significant 59% of respondents typically spend more than 2 hours watching TV

OTT Platforms

In terms of other video platforms such as OTT, the last few years have seen an unprecedented rise in the popularity of streaming services in Saudi Arabia.

On the OTT front, Shahid (33%) is second in terms of subscription service to Netflix (43%) in KSA with it’s Arabic-first nature and continuous release of the latest Arabic TV shows and movies. Its content performs well amongst the huge Saudi and Arab ex-pat population who are craving more local content –so it’s important for brands to consider cultural aspects and language specifics and launch campaigns that are locally relevant to maximize reach.

Traditional media

In terms of offline, TV penetration in KSA is 89%, with the typical time spent on TV being highly concentrated at around two hours upwards with consumers.

Indicative of the new digital era, the MediaBrands study showed that print readership (newspapers and magazines) had low engagement across the board in terms of time spent.

Topics of interest and Values perceived in KSA 

In terms of the top interest topics and values perceived in KSA, here are some key trend takeaways:

Spending on fashion clothing (including sports clothing) saw 44% of respondents having bought in the last 6 months or are intending to buy in the next six months.

The majority of the population is highly ambitious and business-oriented. YouTube users have shown the highest intent (76%) in building an enterprise in the future followed by Instagram at 72% and Snapchat at 70%.

Ecommerce growth is outpacing traditional retail stores and has no signs of abating in the future. High penetration of mobile devices and easy access to technology has helped KSA users to easily shop online. With an 87% penetration, 66% typically spend up to 2 hours shopping online.

When it comes to the core values for Saudis, the results were clear – respect for parents and elders ranked highest (83%), with being able to achieve personal goals coming a close second (81%).


In conclusion, if brands want to resonate with Saudi consumers, they can drive long-term success by being effectively engaging now and seizing the opportunity to be relevant.

By actioning on such insights and building intelligently through marketing capabilities and investment, brands can become ‘top of mind’ with Saudi consumers – and thereby penetrate the market more than ever before.

The past year has witnessed a different set of trends in consumer behaviour and brands also adapted in order to adhere to customers’ preferences. Many brands MAINTAINED their budget online to meet customers’ demands. However, it’s important for brands to optimize their budget across all platforms for sustainable gains.


IPG MediaBrands – MENA’s Connections Panel (A hybrid quantitative study fielded for 6 weeks in June ‘21, speaking to 2,500 across the Kingdom to identify the different media and shopping habits)