The Automotive Industry Needs To Act – Digitally In The Middle East!


Seventy-five percent of UAE online consumers plan to buy a new or used car in the next two years, according to a new study by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. Auto demand in the MENA region will be strongest in UAE (75%), followed by Egypt (74%) then Saudi Arabia (72%).

“Linking global automotive demand with consumer sentiments is vital to developing marketing strategies that connect the right consumers with the right automotive brands,” said Akash Pal, Executive Director - Consumer Insights, Nielsen Africa & Middle East. “The MENA region represent a large area of growth opportunity for the industry, but capturing this opportunity hinges on marketers successfully identifying, understanding and effectively connecting with buyers’ needs and desires.”


47 percent of UAE respondents say they will buy a new car in the next two years, compared with 28 percent who plan to buy used cars. In Egypt, 49 percent of respondents say they will buy a new car, while 25 percent plan to buy used. Similar ratios are found in Saudi Arabia (49% new vs. 23% used).

“Marketers need to abandon some preconceived notions about the factors that influence a new versus used car buyer or first-time buyer versus an existing owner,” said Pal. “Getting to the heart of what drives purchase decisions allows auto marketers to fine-tune their marketing strategies to address the unique needs of the buyers in their markets.”

Love of Driving Triggers Auto Sales in UAE

According to Nielsen’s survey, 82 percent of UAE respondents in the market to buy a new car say that aside from financial reasons, an emotional love of driving is the biggest trigger of automotive sales. Owning a car to fulfill utilitarian needs (78%) or to reflect a symbol of status (71%) are other motivators that will spur future automotive demand in UAE.

“Automotive makers are well aware of the power of emotional connections for car buyers, but the key is making sure these messages are clear and resonate through their campaigns to the right audience,” said Pal. “If auto marketers know that consumers are driven by status, then sales efforts centered on the luxury car market should be a priority focus. Similarly, with utility-minded, finance-driven or driver-enthusiast consumers, a keen focus on their desires will ensure that marketing strategies are proactive and aligned with their wants.”

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30 percent of UAE respondents have more than one car at their disposal. According to Nielsen’s study, 20 percent of UAE online consumers drive 2 cars, 8 percent three cars and 8 percent 4 cars. Only 14 percent of the UAE online consumers don’t have a car in their household.


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