Many regional markets are experiencing a staggering increase in internet usage, up from 7.8 million to 187 million users in the last decade, according to Steve Hamilton-Clark, CEO of the world’s largest custom market research organisation, TNS MENA.

“Over the past ten years, internet use in the greater MENA region is up 2,300 per cent. I am seeing this as one of many indications that consumer brands must change the way they do business; they must look online for growth."

Steve Hamilton CEO of TNS MENA

Hamilton-Clark shared that the recently-published TNS Digital Life global programme looks at how consumers in 60 countries behave online. “The statistics show that 90 per cent of region-based consumers conduct research across all categories using the internet before purchase. They also indicate that e-commerce is set to grow in the region,” he said.

He also stressed that as online engagement grows, consumer brands must be ready to manage a full spectrum of customer services, from assisting pre-purchase research, through to product selection, purchase, delivery, as well as a slick after-sales service.

“The internet affords infinitive opportunities and we urge marketers to fast appreciate this or face being left behind. Indeed, online and mobile shopping looks set to play an even bigger role as support channels, software and devices continue to develop,” Hamilton-Clark observed.

Turning to the UAE, many residents spend an average of 15 hours per week online, including three hours on social networking sites. Users are also active in video streaming, knowledge-based activities and gaming. Hamilton-Clark said that this represents enormous opportunities if used intelligently and diligently by marketers and the media.

“Digital is fast becoming a primary media channel, with search engine ads currently influencing 20 per cent of product selection made by regional consumers.

“However, there is still the need to incorporate offline marketing strategies to drive traffic online in the first place. An integrated approach is needed and campaigns should include on-and off-line tactics,” he concluded.

– A TNS Digital Life Study published by TNS Mena.

Image Credits: Svilen Milev and TNS Mena

About TNS Mena:

TNS MENA is one of the largest full-service agency in the MENA region, with 150 research consultants delivering accurate business insight and counsel to its 200 plus clients. TNS operates across a vast network of over 80 countries and is one of the leading global custom marketing research organisations. TNS MENA was established in 1980 to cater to the growing markets of the Middle East.

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