Silent Majority: The Rising Voice of Middle Eastern Consumers

Luxury brands enjoy a strong presence in the Middle East as evidenced by the twinkling jewelry and thick Swiss watches worn by the region’s elite. And while wealthy Middle Easterners are nothing new, luxury brands are focusing growth on the rise of young, consumer-oriented professionals who have benefited from the Gulf’s strong economies.


The Middle East’s consumer economy, then, is something quite new to talk about. That’s because the Middle East’s domestic luxury market is only just starting to take off, a fact daily confirmed by an increasing number of international luxury companies announcing plans for growth throughout the region’s capitals.


One of those companies is luxury watchmaker Citizen, whose regional manager recently stated that the Japanese-based company plans on opening at least 70 stores in Saudi Arabia and the UAE through 2013. Up to just a few years ago there was little incentive for Citizen, a company whose watches regularly sell for thousands of dollars apiece, to open just a few outlets in only the poshest central malls in Riyadh and Dubai. Now, they’re staking their international growth on the obvious potential of these delicate markets.


What’s especially exciting about the great increase of these brands into ever-widening swaths of the Middle East is that it reflects a shift in the consumer habits among a huge number of these countries’ youthful population. And it is because these consumers are young that many companies see such strong potential in the first place, the goal being to provide their goods directly to this rising demographic. For Citizen, however, only time will tell which watch these consumers pick.