Introducing “The Future of the UAE”

In a country that is evolving ever so rapidly, change is the only constant. The “plates” of the UAE’s consumer landscape are forever shifting, with new waves of expatriates arriving every day and technology continuing to transform our lifestyles. Consumers’ psyche, attitudes and behaviors keep evolving as a result, making business planning a challenging task.

The ‘Future of the UAE’ is an ongoing research project to document and explore the evolution of the nation. It is the local chapter of an international research initiative by OMD, with more to follow in the region. The study originated in the UK with The Future of the Britain and has since been rolled out in several European markets, Australia and, most recently, Latin America. Like its counterparts, the ‘Future of the UAE’ survey explores the local dynamics in terms of attitudes, lifestyles, choices and opinions, as well as residents’ vision of the future for both themselves and the country.

We interviewed 2,000 people face-to-face, a representative sample of the UAE population, to better understand how they live today and expect to live tomorrow. Expatriates, who have chosen to relocate in the UAE, have come to fulfil a dream, while Emiratis have embraced the long-term vision spelled out by the Government. The way we live our lives has evolved rapidly and technology continues to dramatically shift the way we work, rest, play and shop. But why is this happening and what does it mean for brands?

Balancing between tradition and modernity, the UAE is forging a path towards the future, one that includes the key notion of happiness, national identity, entrepreneurship and sustainability. These are some of the notions we’ve explored and found that, despite the occasional bumps on the road, residents are overwhelmingly optimistic about their future standard of living. It isn’t a case of one size fits all though and there are many individual stories to tell. For some, their ambition has been fulfilled, for others it is still work in progress and the economic outlook will challenge both.

This particular type of research provides a marker for the changes we’ve witnessed and those to come, with the societal and marketing implications they carry. This is just the beginning of a conversation, a collective journey into the future, one to which you’re all invited to share your observations, thoughts and opinions.

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