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Eighty-five Percent of UAE Survey Respondents Intend to Upgrade to a Better Car when Financially Able; Love of Driving Also Influential


DUBAI – Seventy-five percent of UAE online consumers plan to buy a new or used car in the next two years, according to a new study by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. Auto demand in the MENAP region will be strongest in Pakistan (78%), followed by UAE (75%), Egypt (74%) and Saudi Arabia (72%).

“Linking global automotive demand with consumer sentiments is vital to developing marketing strategies that connect the right consumers with the right automotive brands,” said Akash Pal, Executive Director – Consumer Insights, Nielsen Africa & Middle East. “The MENAP region represent a large area of growth opportunity for the industry, but capturing this opportunity hinges on marketers successfully identifying, understanding and effectively connecting with buyers’ needs and desires.”

The Nielsen Global Survey of Automotive Demand polled more than 30,000 Internet respondents[i] in 60 countries to identify where automotive demand is greatest and to reveal the emotional as well as the financial motives that are most influential in driving new and used car purchase intent.

47 percent of UAE respondents say they will buy a new car in the next two years, compared with 28 percent who plan to buy used cars. In Egypt, 49 percent of respondents say they will buy a new car, while 25 percent plan to buy used. Similar ratios are found in Saudi Arabia (49% new vs. 23% used) while in Pakistan almost more respondents plan to buy a used car (38%) rather than a new car (40%) in the next two years.

“Marketers need to abandon some preconceived notions about the factors that influence a new versus used car buyer or first-time buyer versus an existing owner,” said Pal. “Getting to the heart of what drives purchase decisions allows auto marketers to fine-tune their marketing strategies to address the unique needs of the buyers in their markets.”

Love of Driving Triggers Auto Sales in UAE

According to Nielsen’s survey, 82 percent of UAE respondents in the market to buy a new car say that aside from financial reasons, an emotional love of driving is the biggest trigger of automotive sales. Owning a car to fulfill utilitarian needs (78%) or to reflect a symbol of status (71%) are other motivators that will spur future automotive demand in UAE.

“Automotive makers are well aware of the power of emotional connections for car buyers, but the key is making sure these messages are clear and resonate through their campaigns to the right audience,” said Pal. “If auto marketers know that consumers are driven by status, then sales efforts centered on the luxury car market should be a priority focus. Similarly, with utility-minded, finance-driven or driver-enthusiast consumers, a keen focus on their desires will ensure that marketing strategies are proactive and aligned with their wants.”

30 percent of UAE respondents have more than one car at their disposal. According to Nielsen’s study, 20 percent of UAE online consumers drive 2 cars, 8 percent three cars and 8 percent 4 cars. Only 14 percent of the UAE online consumers don’t have a car in their household.

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Survey of Automotive Demand was conducted between August 14 and September 6, 2013, and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers. It has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based on the behavior of respondents with online access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent Internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA, and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit

[i] While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration is still growing, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population. In addition, survey responses are based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data.