The 10 Mena Trends for 2015

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De­vel­oped by J. Wal­ter Thompson MENA’S trends fore­cast­ing team Brand In­tel­li­gence, the re­port on the MENA Trends for 2015“out­lines 10 of the most com­pelling macros trends iden­ti­fied to­day–trends whose im­pact will be felt in 2015 and be­yond as they con­tinue to un­fold, the ones shap­ing so­ci­etal mood, be­hav­i­uors and at­ti­tudes.” The re­port ex­plores where these trends stand now and where they’re headed with in­sights gleaned from a J. Wal­ter Thompson MEA sur­vey of con­sumers across six key re­gional mar­kets and a spec­trum of in­dus­try ex­perts and in­no­va­tors. Here’s an ex­ec­u­tive sum­mary in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the full re­port’s re­lease. The trends out­lined are:


As cor­po­rate dis­trust and con­tempt lev­els rise, Arabs are opt­ing for brands and com­pa­nies that show them em­pa­thy, so­cial con­science, gen­eros­ity–or sim­ply put–a more vir­tu­ous side.


The pro­lif­er­a­tion of data -as con­sumers ob­ses­sively quan­tify ev­ery­thing from foot­steps to dol­lars spent -is leav­ing peo­ple paral­ysed for choice. How­ever, with in­for­ma­tion ar­chi­tec­ture be­com­ing all the more so­phis­ti­cated, brands can now pre­scribe per­son­ally crafted so­lu­tions that in­form a bet­ter, stronger, faster now.


As the Mid­dle East pop­u­la­tion grows older than it’s ever been, the Arab World is on the cusp of a de­mo­graphic tran­si­tion. Watch for a pro­lif­er­a­tion of prod­ucts and ser­vices cater­ing to this te­na­cious de­mo­graphic as they strive to live in­de­pen­dently in a lifestyle land­scape that has changed be­yond their recog­ni­tion.


The crowd econ­omy is gear­ing up, dis­rupt­ing re­tail, as we know it. Bet­ter­in­formed shop­pers and bet­ter tech are al­low­ing small busi­nesses to grow in un­ex­pected ways. As ev­ery­one (and ev­ery­thing) be­comes a re­tailer and the chan­nel wars kick in, brands must be­come in­creas­ingly imag­i­na­tive as to where, how and when they sell their goods.


Arab Mil­len­ni­als are ush­er­ing in new so­cial norms with an ‘any­thing goes’ at­ti­tude and a new mind­set that is open to al­ter­na­tive ideas. Peo­ple are now mashing-

up long held tra­di­tions with a mix of new flavours, cre­at­ing their own recipe of what feels right to them.


We’ve en­tered an era where Ara­bic has of­fi­cially re­gained its ‘cool’ fac­tor. New lan­guage sys­tems, words and meth­ods of com­mu­ni­ca­tion are emerg­ing, as peo­ple hunger for con­tent in their mother tongue; vis­ual and au­ral de­no­ta­tions of cul­tural rel­e­vance that can only be pol­ished off in Ara­bic -‘Bil 3arabi’.


Ever­more aware of toxic lifestyles, the ‘wor­ried well’ are turn­ing to nat­u­ral al­ter­na­tives as they at­tempt to pre­serve (or re­store) their health, well­ness and bal­ance. As con­sumers sin­gle out ‘Mother Na­ture’ for in­gre­di­ents, reme­dies and su­per­foods, brands and re­tail­ers must re­think their po­si­tion and in­gre­di­ent fun­nels in the new nat­u­ral mar­ket­place.


For­get FOMO! If there’s any­thing our in­creas­ingly con­nected world has taught us, it’s that there is an un­lim­ited amount of ‘cool’ or mean­ing­ful things we are not do­ing. And with this re­al­i­sa­tion–that it’s not re­ally that ‘cool ’if ev­ery­one else is al­ready do­ing it–a grow­ing seg­ment of peo­ple are re­claim­ing their pri­vacy and shroud­ing them­selves in anonymity, rev­el­ing in the cu­rios­ity they’re evok­ing by evad­ing the masses.


Bogged down by medi­ocrity in a world where ev­ery­thing feels so déjà vu, peo­ple are in­creas­ingly walk­ing ‘on the wild side’ to jolt the mo­men­tum of life. ‘Risky busi­ness’ is tak­ing on a pos­i­tive mean­ing, as the ‘ex­treme’ ver­sion of any­thing is now widely as­sumed to be an im­prove­ment on the orig­i­nal, mo­ti­vat­ing more young Arabs to take on ex­pe­ri­ences of un­con­ven­tional, dar­ing and even un­known out­comes to put a ‘kick’ back into ev­ery­day life.


Plagued by a con­stant bat­tle be­tween their con­sumerist im­pulses and moral in­tent, Arabs are trad­ing in ‘mind­less in­dul­gences’ for a more con­sid­ered ap­proach to liv­ing. Grav­i­tat­ing to­wards choices that draw on what’s ‘bet­ter for me’ as op­posed to what’s ‘grat­i­fy­ing’ and seek­ing out pur­chases of a less neg­a­tive im­pact or of a more sus­tain­able ef­fect, on both them­selves and on their so­ci­eties.

“Never has it been more im­por­tant to un­der­stand change. The world is evolv­ing at a rapid rate. Con­sumers are chang­ing their be­hav­iour and adopt­ing ser­vices at break­neck speed, cre­at­ing real chal­lenges for busi­nesses but also ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. It’s our aim to iden­tify the changes that mat­ter, the most im­pact­ful ones, and help in­spire brands to adapt and cre­ate fu­ture-ready ini­tia­tives.”-Men­nah Ibrahim, Head of the Brand In­tel­li­gence team.

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