As 2015 comes to a close, Chris Sunbaigong, Vice-President of honor, unveils the top three hottest trends for 2016.
1. Living Online
2016 is the year when consumers in the Middle East will turn to digital more and more as they choose to live their everyday lives online? The UAE and Saudi Arabia have among the highest internet usage penetration rates in the world. According to the Consumer Barometer with Google, more than seven-in-ten smartphone owners in the UAE and Saudi Arabia would choose to complete a task digitally if possible.
More than half of those in Saudi who don’t own a smartphone prefer the same, highlighting the reality that the internet not only serves as a vital tool in people’s everyday lives but that they literally live and breathe online. Nearly everything in real time is now available in the online world and so it is no surprise that this most convenient tool is now the major platform in which we manage our everyday lives.
As Dubai is focusing on becoming a Smart City, this will support the growth trend, and as cutting-edge technology meets a growing consumer need and desire for more online, this is only going to get bigger and better in 2016.
2. E and M-Commerce
The Middle East is still the fastest growing e-commerce market in the world and as consumers are living online more and more, brands are quickly responding by providing online platforms that offer convenient, value for money shopping experiences, including honor which has just launched its new e-commerce platform www.honorarabia.com. In the UAE, the internet was used in 24 per cent of recent purchases; in Saudi Arabia, the number is higher, at 33 per cent, and with more consumers shopping online each year this number is predicted to triple in the next four years.
An explosive combination of factors are driving this mega trend in the region – the Middle East is a youth-dominated population, particularly Saudi Arabia where 75 per cent are under 25 years old. These digital natives are driving e-commerce adoption as well as the growing awareness of its huge benefits. As more consumers have access to high-quality smartphones through the growing factory-to-consumer business model, the region is experiencing the highest mobile penetration rate in the world. This is also aiding the drive toward m-commerce, which is being used for up to 50 per cent of online shopping.
These exciting factors combined with excited consumers who are looking to get connected and explore the possibilities, indicate a huge incremental growth over the next year and beyond.
3. Netizen Power
As consumers live online, so do their thoughts, opinions and most importantly feedback. Communication has become far more transparent and the consumer has more power and influence than ever.
“Adapt or die” has never been truer in the digital age as the power of citizens on the net has meant that the brands that listen, react and adapt accordingly are more likely to succeed in producing products that suit consumer lifestyles and create seamless and enjoyable experiences.
With six out of ten people more likely to make a purchase if the website has consumer reviews, the netizen power is ever present. Being present online allows brands to get closer to the end-user and react to feedback more efficiently and communicate directly in real-time.
The effect of this power will certainly continue to grow over the next year across the digital world in all sectors, as online becomes even more important to people and their brands, as well as brands and their consumers.