Arab women are in the midst of rapid social change and understanding what motivates their spending is critical, according to Steve Hamilton-Clark, CEO of TNS MENA. Hamilton-Clark points to recent research in Saudi Arabia that revealed that women are motivated by technology, education and media, and that they are now demanding respect in all aspects of their lives, fuelled by external pressures and trends, including the growth of nuclear families and an increasing desire to expand social networks.

“Figures show that 29% of women feel that technology provides an avenue for self-expression, 32% believe it provides the power from information and knowledge, and 30% enjoy the community aspect of online communications.”

Hamilton-Clark was citing the Arab As A Consumer (ARAC) study carried out by TNS. The research among female consumers in the Kingdom unveiled the emergence of trends and new behaviours influenced by sweeping change in the region’s approach to education, an increasingly relaxed press censorship and the move towards empowering women.

He said that findings revealed that key aspirations are freedom, fun, self-expression, respect, acceptance of overt beauty, as well as an increasing lean towards health and well-being.

“The boundaries of traditional husband and wife roles have been redefined, the expectations of marriage have changed, educated women want to work, and then find that being a working mother is challenging.

The ARAC research revealed that 48% of the participants feel that women in the workforce is an economic essential and 44% rate having a job as an important influence on confidence levels and self-esteem, shared Hamilton-Clark.

“It seems that female consumers are embracing new relationships, adopting support systems, and creating lifestyles that reflect the individual personality. Overall, there is a new openness to alternate ways of keeping in touch and being connected,” he added.

Hamilton-Clark said that women spend more than USD 20 trillion, worldwide and that regional marketers must fast understand the rapid evolution in the habits and desires of the Arab woman.'

Joumana Saad

Before joining SME Advisor, I worked as a producer/reporter for Forbes Media in New York. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and International Studies at the University of South Florida in the US. I am currently in Dubai working as Sub-Editor for SME Advisor Middle East, which is a business magazine published by CPI. You can follow me on Twitter: @joumanasaad or @SMEadvisorME and (Joumana Saad) or (SME Advisor) on LinkedIn.