Understanding brand boycotts in Saudi Arabia and the UAE

Two-thirds of UAE and KSA residents say they have boycotted a brand following a scandal

New research from YouGov gives insight into why consumers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia boycott brands.

The survey also reveals the reasons that led to a boycott and shows what brands can do to win consumers’ trust again.

Data from the survey shows that 66 percent of UAE and KSA consumers claim they have boycotted a brand, either temporarily or permanently, owing to a scandal. Among the two markets, consumers in KSA were more likely to say this as compared to those in the UAE.

Consumers in these markets are more inclined to practice boycotting when a brand’s stand on political or social issues is against their own view.  Almost half of those surveyed fall into this bracket, with the practice more common among KSA consumers than UAE consumers.

Consumers revealed that their desire to boycott a brand also occurs after an experience with faulty, damaged, or dangerous products.

From the various categories of brands that consumers have stopped using or buying from following a scandal, quick-service restaurants top the list in both markets.

FMCG is the next popular category where consumers have snubbed a brand. The survey breaks down the category into three categories. These are separated into food and beverage, beauty, hygiene, and personal care, and household supplies and home care.

On being asked how soon they returned to a brand that they once boycotted, a majority of consumers in both markets said they returned to the brand in less than six months.

One in five consumers started using or buying from the brand one week after a scandal, while twice this number waited up to a month.

An improvement in the products or services offered was the top reason for returning to a boycotted brand, closely followed by the brand taking corrective action and rectifying its mistake.

Many consumers were encouraged to go back to the brand once the people responsible left the company or because they could not afford or enjoy competitors’ products or services.

Not finding better alternatives and influence from friends or family are some of the other reasons for using a boycotted brand again.