MidEast luxury retail spending on the rise

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Spending on premium goods and experiences by consumers in the Middle East is on the rise, according to the new American Express Middle East Luxury Spending Tracker.

The tracker said that in all markets except the UAE, consumers plan to increase spending on luxury goods and experiences through to the end of 2012, as their personal circumstances improve.

The American Express Middle East Luxury Spending Tracker surveyed a random sample of 1,000 residents drawn from Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and the UAE.

It found that residents of Qatar are the biggest buyers of luxury goods across the Middle East, closely followed by consumers in Bahrain.

It said Qataris spend up to $5,000 a month on luxury goods, while consumers in Oman and Jordan are the most conservative shoppers in the region - spending less than $250 per month.

"Consumer attitudes towards spending have begun to improve significantly and there is a noticeable rise in spending on luxury goods and experiences across the region," said Mazin Khoury, CEO, American Express Middle East.

Luxury products such as cars, high end electronic goods and fashion accessories were identified by respondents as preferred purchases over experiential luxury such as holidays and spa treatments this year.

Fashion topped the list of preferred purchases in 2012, with 37 percent of respondents saying they enjoy shopping for fashion-related items.

Cars were also a leading luxury purchase in 2012, with 31 percent of respondents planning to buy new vehicles this year.

Automobile purchases were highest in the UAE with 42 percent looking to buy new cars in 2012, compared to only 24 percent of Bahraini respondents.

Consumer spending on food and dining out was also highest in the UAE, a likely reflection of the considerable array of international dining options in the country, the tracker showed.

Consumers said Dubai was the region's prime location for purchasing branded luxury products, selected by 65 percent of respondents.

The emirate was named the preferred shopping destination by 88 percent of respondents from the UAE, 81 percent from Oman, 78 percent from Bahrain and 67 percent from Qatar.

Khoury added: "The inclination towards acquiring tangible luxury goods as opposed to participating in luxury experiences is in keeping with the new consumer sentiment that demands greater value for money.

"Tangible luxury offers greater perceived value as consumers can experience the rewards for their investment over a longer period."

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