"The region’s female population is making waves that are washing up new demands on products and services," says Steve Hamilton-Clark, CEO of TNS MENA, the world’s largest custom market research organisation. According to Steve, “Global figures suggest that women account for consumer spending worth US$ 20 trillion and a recent study of the female consumer has revealed that women are indeed becoming a major retail influencer in the region.”

The research among female consumers in the Kingdom, cited from the "Arab as a Consumer (ARAC) study carried out by TNS in Saudi Arabia recently, unveiled the emergence of new trends and behaviours influenced by sweeping change in the region’s approach to education, an increasingly relaxed press censorship and the empowerment of women. He said that the report throws the spotlight on interesting trends that will help regional marketers understand this growing market better and in turn change the way they do business.

“Women in the Arab world are building higher public profiles and look to be creating their own space and image.  Lists such as the ‘100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2012’ reflect the essence of our findings; women are demanding respect in all aspects of their lives, especially in terms of expressing opinion, and being valued for what they do.” He stressed that this change marks the redefinition of family values and personal relationships as a result of external pressures, and said that traditional husband and wife roles are evolving, and the woman’s role in areas such as child development are also changing.

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“This change can be attributed to the awareness of women’s rights influenced by religion, technology, TV, education, and career development.” Indeed, ARAC findings show that while women currently represent 40 per cent of the global workforce, this figure falls to just 20 per cent in the Middle East; something set to increase as active participation by women in learning, development and the workplace continues and thus positively spurs economic growth.

In the UAE, women now make up as much as 65 per cent of college enrolments and graduation. Organisations, marketers and governments need to recognise this, and fast.

“As the spending power of women increases, marketers too must acknowledge women as an important growing customer segment that need specific understanding and marketing strategies,” he concluded.

It's time Women were looked at as a major force and not a minority, be it in society or in the consumer market.



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. Today TNS MENA is one of the largest full-service marketing research agency in the MENA region, with 140+ research consultants delivering accurate business insight and counsel to its 200 plus clients. 

Image Credits: TNS and John Manly 

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