A national survey presented at Expo 2020 Dubai heralded a post-pandemic optimism of Filipino consumers for the UAE’s sustainable growth trajectory in the next 12 months.
The study conducted by The Filipino Times, the biggest news platform for Filipinos in the Middle East and North African region, focused on several key indicators as a gauge to measure Filipino expatriates' consumer confidence and covered 2,612 Filipino respondents from across the emirates.
It measured consumer sentiment and purchasing power, and the business outlook of companies catering to or targeting the Filipino consumers in the UAE, which is considered one of the fastest-growing, brand-loyal consumer segments.
Drivers of optimism
As presented during the Global Business Forum-ASEAN organised by Dubai Chamber at Expo 2020 Dubai, the survey revealed that 96 per cent of Filipino expatriates believe the UAE economy is in a stronger position to achieve further progress in 2022 driven by better performance of the private sector since the pandemic.
On the back of the economic impact of Expo 2020 Dubai, strong population growth, double-digit growth of new businesses and the UAE’s leading vaccination rate, 89 per cent of Filipino professionals are also upbeat for a salary increase in 2022. A third of them are already earning a monthly salary of over Dh10,000.
UAE’s fastest-growing consumer market
This strong optimism amongst Filipinos is reflected in their consumption habits, making them a fast-growing major profitable consumer market.
In an analysis, the survey emphasised the importance of gauging consumer spending, directly linked to a better employment outlook. While spending revives businesses, the recovery of businesses leads to an upbeat job market and more spending.
Filipinos are brand-loyal
Nearly eight out of ten Filipinos revealed that they can pay a higher price to get products they aspire to have from well-known brands.
Of this number, 39 percent are willing to spend on high-end gadgets; 26 percent on culinary experiences; 24 percent on branded clothes, fashion items, and accessories; and 11 percent on cars/vehicles.
The average age of overseas Filipinos is in the "millennial" bracket and stands out for their technology use and embracing of digital life, according to studies.
Dr Karen Remo, CEO and Managing Director of New Perspective Media Group and Publisher of The Filipino Times, said, "As one of the largest expatriate communities in the UAE, the Filipinos have become a major consumer segment for many brands – both local and international – in this country. We have been seeing more brands boosting their strategy in capturing this important target market."
"The positive sentiment is driving an upbeat business outlook as the growing number of Filipinos, their growing purchasing power and the strengthening of UAE-Philippines ties fuel business expansions from Philippine-based companies, UAE-based Filipino entrepreneurs, and international firms targeting Filipinos," Dr. Remo added.
Increased purchasing power
As reflected in the survey findings, six out of every ten respondents said they have personally noticed an increase in promotions and marketing campaigns by local and international brands catering specifically to Filipinos.
Vince Ang, Vice President, Brand Engagement at New Perspective Media Group and General Manager, The Filipino Times, said, "This survey shows that companies see the potential of the Filipino market in the UAE as a target consumer group ready to opt for a particular product or service."
New wave of entrepreneurs
The UAE’s outpouring support for businesses in the region also sparked a new wave of business-minded Filipinos to dive into entrepreneurship, with 94 percent of the respondents saying they have noticed more Filipino-owned businesses in the UAE than five years ago.
Currently, there are 792 Filipino-owned businesses in Dubai alone, according to the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry, citing data from Dubai Chamber.
Meanwhile, 98 percent of respondents noted an increase in the number of Filipino brands on the shelves of their preferred supermarkets and grocery chains.
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