UAE customer Trend: 6 questions that TGI (Target group Index report) raises about UAE Food market

TGI 2011 product book aims at providing percentage penetration of multiple product categories in different countries.

What I have done in the following table is that I have compared penetration of food products in UAE with countries that have scored high in that category. 

Product Category % Usage UAE Country with highest Consumption % Usage
Baby or Junior Food 14% Croatia & Slovenia 36%
Mineral Water 98% Bahrain 95%
Chewing Gum 63% Iran 82%
Colas 72% Philippines 94%
Oils for Cooking and Salad (Main Shoppers) 94% Almost all countries have above 90% except South Korea 50%
Potato Crisps and Potato Snacks 83% Kuwait 87%
Fizzy Soft / Energy Drinks (excluding Colas) 85% Denmark 89%
Ice Cream 90% Denmark 98%
Instant Coffee 61% Israel 80%
Ready-to-Drink Fruit and Vegetable Juices 91% Denmark 93%
Tomato Ketchup 90% Philippines 96%
Mayonnaise 64% Venezuela 96%
Soup 65% USA 89%
Tea (Loose and Bags, including Fruit and Herbal Tea) 93% Indonesia & Poland 98%
Yoghurt 94% Iran 98%

Now this data set poses following questions  

  1. Is UAE market of Colas smaller than the market of Fizzy drink/energy drinks?
  2. Cola market is smaller than ready to drink fruit and vegetable juices? If yes, then Almarai, Al Ain juices and other such brands have done a good job
  3. Obesity in UAE is rising, maybe because of 83% penetration of potato crisps?
  4.  Why Chewing Gum penetration is only 63%?
  5. If South Koreans are not using oil for cooking than what are they using, because that might lead to low level of obesity?
  6. Is there a room for expansion in Mayonnaise or soup market in UAE, considering the eating habits of majority?  

The sampling details for TGI-UAE market are as follow

  • UAE 15+
  •  8 urban cities
  • Sample Size  5,000
  • Jul 2009 – Dec 2009

If you have more questions and want to contact TGI group directly, you can drop them an email at

Customer Trend: What consumers are doing while you read this post? 21 social media stats

Statistics, that will make your hair stand. Sit down and watch the counter. This just shows how digital media is helping consumer insight manager in gathering data.

Consumer Insight Manger vs. Research Manager, what is the difference?

I was looking at job boards and questioning myself as to what is the difference between a consumer insight manager and a research manager? Is it more than just a buzz word?

For last so many years I have been juggling with the jobs that handled data. I have been a researcher, a strategic communication planner, and a strategist. Following is my take on jobs as consumer insight manager vs. research manager.


Consumer Insight Manager

Research Manager


Understanding of research

Understanding of research


Strategic Input (Consultancy)

Research Study (Tool)

Activities & Tasks

Commission researches

Manage clients

Analyze data & its impact on strategic initiative /product /brand / marketing

Manage projects

Negotiate results driven action points with action owners

Analyse results

Understand the impact of actions on consumer

Manage data

Predict trends & align priorities

Improve research methods and techniques

Inspire insight driven innovation


Some Examples

A consumer insight manager’s output would be

A research manager’s output would be

JWT intelligence

Brand z

Dictionary of change

Television audience measurement


Should Understand strategic planning

Should understand the tools & techniques

Should understand basics of project management

Should understand basics of project management

Should understand MR

Should understand MR

Should be capable of combining research & gut

Should be capable of translating research briefs in to profitable research projects

Average Salary (UK)

GBP 53,500 p.a

GBP 40,000 p.a.


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Consumer Insight: Sally in Dubai and social media

What Sally (a Filipina Maid) is telling the social media enthusiasts? I just saw an article about a blog by a Filipina maid in the Gulf-news.  

My first question is, is this blog by a maid in Dubai for real? If it is, then it is time to ask the following questions

  • Depth and breadth of social media in UAE – from face book to blogger, how many do we have? What are the numbers? What are they doing? And how can they be accessed & influenced? I compiled some statistics on social media users in UAE but this needs to be updated and expanded.
  •  Work ethics and social media guidelines – This young lady is the first drop of water, now magnify this to the workforce in UAE. Key Question companies need to ask from themselves is when will I be developing my social media usage guidelines, will I be developing them at all? Example of social media guidelines
  •  This Filipina lady is a lesson in blogging – I think copyblogger should present it as a case study; this blog caught the eye of press despite of poor language, no proper training in headline development etc.

Key questions she has asked

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UAE Trends: Twitter users and their share of voice

I was intrigued by the news that Klout, a startup that helps people measure how influential they are across a variety of social media sites, announced today that it has scored $8.5 million in a round of funding led by Kleiner Perkins.

And I thought why I don’t come up with such ideas, ever?

Anyways, I ran a search to find out the social media influence of multiple twitter users and this is what I found

Twitter Name klout Score Category
Ramkantari 66 Thought leader
thenationaluae 63 Thought leader
Wild Peeta 61 Specialist
PurpleNano 60 Thought leader
EtisalatUAE 60 Thought leader
Dutweets 56 Specialist
Catboy_Dubai 54 Thought leader
Zawya 53 Specialist
CopywriterinUAE 39 Explorer
AMEinfonews 34 Explorer
Mediame 10 Explorer
Consumertrend That is me :) 10 Explorer


 The interesting part is Most individuals have scored more than the organizations/corporate tweets. Etisalat and Du have scored almost the same but have different positioning in terms of category.  

Definitions of the categories:

Explorer: You actively engage in the social web, constantly trying out new ways to interact and network. You’re exploring the ecosystem and making it work for you. Your level of activity and engagement shows that you “get it”, we predict you’ll be moving up.

Thought Leader: You are a thought leader in your industry. Your followers rely on you, not only to share the relevant news, but to give your opinion on the issues. People look to you to help them understand the day’s developments. You understand what’s important and what your audience values.

Specialist: You may not be a celebrity, but within your area of expertise your opinion is second to none. Your content is likely focused around a specific topic or industry with a focused, highly-engaged audience

Want to check and analyse your twitter score, go ahead and try klout.

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Consumer Insight: How blackberry ban will affect UAE consumer

The United Arab Emirates is to block sending e-mails, accessing the internet, and delivering instant messages to other Blackberry handsets – BBC, for more news on UAE Blackberry ban

“Blackberry ban in UAE: Good news for Iphone and a bad news for middle class mobile internet surfers”

Here are some statistics which should be considered before understanding the effect of Blackberry ban.

  1. UAE tops Arab world for mobile phone penetration rates, the rate for mobile phone users in the UAE stood at 193.5 percent, followed by Saudi Arabia with a rate of 165.5 percent. (Note: Saudia Arabia has also announced a freeze on blackberry services)
  2. “BlackBerry plans represent a substantial part of that (mobile data); while the operators don’t give exact numbers, Etisalat confirmed to me last week that 15% of its mobile subscribers were on mobile data plans, which include BlackBerry.  It’s so widely used, that of that fifteen percent, BlackBerry comprises the largest single part – as much as 10% of the total mobile subscriber base in the UAE”. Informa Media & Telecoms senior analyst Matthew Reed told Arabian Business

Impact on UAE Consumer

  1. YPEs, business professionals and B2B users are directly affected with the current policy change, as they are the prime target audience for the handset.
  2. Sale of blackberry will drop which will cause an increase in the sales of Iphone. As UAE mobile web surfers have already favored apple Iphone, while Nokia is unable to tap a considerable market share in UAE and in MENA
  3. Telecom operators of other countries might benefit from this step. As telecom operators in other countries continuing to provide such services, users who believe that such services are indispensible to their business or lifestyle may be tempted to use the roaming facilities of such players. “Roaming charges in India are pretty cheap,” said an Indian expatriate in the UAE who currently uses the BlackBerry email service extensively for business purposes. “I am going to get the cheapest Indian SIM card and use it here”
  4. Iphone price is an entry barrier for Blackberry users and thus small scale users will opt for other solutions for wi-fi internet. It can possibly be the wi-fi internet offer of Etisalat.
  5. Mobile commerce and mobile access to social networking sites will be directly affected as these are one of the key activities of mobile internet users.  



    From Consumer Insights with Ayesha Saeed

Additional readings

  1. Economist report on Blackberry in UAE
  2. Report on mobile usage in UAE   
  3. RIM provides the terms and conditions demanded by TRA to USA, UK & China.
  4. Governments around the world has security concerns on Blackberry
  5. Most people use mobile internet to access social networking sites in USA

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