According to the EY Future Consumer Index, 70 percent of consumers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region believe brands have a duty to positively impact the environment, with purpose mattering more than ever.
As MENA consumers consider the future after the COVID-19 pandemic, data from the index shows that many of them plan to change their lifestyles, with 65 percent claiming that life after the pandemic would be better than before the pandemic, and 51 percent suggesting that the pandemic has accelerated changes they have always planned to make.
The index shows that MENA customers are becoming more conscious of the value of sustainability and having a positive effect on society. More than half of respondents (57 percent) said they would prioritize the environment and climate change in their daily lives and purchases. Another 22 percent said that sustainability will be their most important purchase criteria three years from now.
Around 63 percent of MENA customers are more likely to buy from firms that ensure what they do has a positive impact on society. Furthermore, 48 percent would purchase more from organizations that support society even though their goods or services are more costly.
“As consumers adopt new preferences and attitudes for the future, the Future Consumer Index findings show that pre-existing concerns around their own health, environmental sustainability, and social impact have a significantly larger influence than ever before in their purchase decisions. Consumers are willing to engage more with brands that direct their capabilities and resources to support economic recovery in the communities they operate in. Affordability also remains a critical factor for most consumers, in addition to the overall brand experience. Brands that keep these factors in mind will be well placed for success among consumers in the coming years.”
The results also indicate that 77 percent of MENA customers are willing to share personal data for healthy product recommendations if it contributes to better outcomes for them. A majority of 65 percent of consumers also said they want to make healthier choices in their product purchases in the longer term, with 41 percent saying that health or ‘what’s good for me’ will be the most important purchase criteria for them three years from now.
Most consumers, particularly those who are actively taking measures to ensure that they live within their means, continue to prioritize affordability. The index found that 67 percent of MENA consumers plan to be more conscious and careful of their spending in the long run, with 58 percent saying the price will be their most relevant purchasing criterion in three years.
According to the report, “Even as the roll-out of the vaccine picks up around the world, stability increases, and the impact of COVID-19 declines, the findings suggest that people are more worried than ever. The percentage of people who think they will live in fear of the COVID-19 pandemic for at least another year has risen from 19 percent to 27 percent. People are increasingly concerned about the health of their family, access to necessities, and personal finances.”
Consequently, around 49 percent of MENA consumers reported that they will be less inclined to get involved in experiences outside the home as a result of health and safety concerns, while 86 percent have changed the way they stay entertained.
Mr. Ravi Kapoor, EY MENA Consumer Industry Consulting Leader said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has opened up a window for change, and organizations have reacted by significantly transforming the way they work. The same is true of consumers’ everyday lifestyles, and as people around the world emerge from the pandemic, they plan to fundamentally change how they spend money and live their lives. Against this backdrop, companies cannot afford to stand still. Those that take bold decisions now to address their customers evolving concerns, as well as new market trends, will be more successful in shaping a profitable future.”