DUBAI: The lure of Saudi Arabia as a market for luxury retail was evident in the packed hall as Mathieu Yarak of the Choueiri Group took to the stage at the Arab Luxury World forum on Thursday to shed light on the purchasing habits of Saudi female consumers who go for luxury items.
Based on a research study conducted by the Choueiri Group in collaboration with market research firm Ipsos, the findings explained the “complex” journey an affluent Saudi woman embarks on when she decides to purchase a luxury accessory, in this case “handbags, watches and jewelry.”
A sample of 350 Saudi women of an affluent background were interviewed about their spending habits, with some surprising findings unveiled.
Yarak took to the stage in Dubai to explain the journey such women take when purchasing a luxury item, and split it into four parts: Research; shortlisting; reassurance and purchasing.
With the concept of “change or reward” listed as the top trigger when it comes to purchasing a luxury accessory, Yarak went on to explain that an overwhelming number of the women polled looked to the brand’s website to firm up their decision about what to buy, with the social media platforms coming in second.
When it comes to shortlisting the items, various factors come into play, including the brand’s identity, price and country of origin, with the traditional association of France and Switzerland with bags and watches, respectively, still holding weight in Saudi Arabia.
This, Yarak pointed out, is something luxury brands need to highlight in their conversation with Saudi women — “it’s all about heritage,” he said.
The brand’s availability in Saudi Arabia also played a major role in the polled women’s desire to purchase items, with an overwhelming chorus of “no” heard when they were asked if they are happy shopping online for high-end goods.
While the research, shortlisting and reassurance stages all take place online — with potential buyers visiting the brand’s website, luxury e-tailers and social media — the preferred point of purchase is largely bricks-and-mortar, with respondents saying the attention, care and service they receive in stores is what keep them coming back.
Participants also highlighted their desire for more localized advertising, with calls for Arabic-language campaigns and more Middle Eastern-looking faces standing out as a major opportunity for international luxury brands when it comes to their strategy in Saudi Arabia.