60% prefer it.. Grocery stores win the bet in the Emirates

The grocery sector in the UAE has reached a new stage of development as competition intensifies, according to a new report by Oliver Wyman, the global management consulting firm and a member of New York Stock Exchange-listed Marsh McLennan Company.

However, the report also indicated that the success achieved by modern grocery companies operating in the UAE in securing their market share is pushing them to compete to achieve similar growth by attracting competitors’ customers and increasing their share of their current customer portfolio. This prevailing mechanism contributes to the market reaching saturation and opens the door to opportunities for radical changes in the market.

The company’s latest Customer Perception Mapping (CPM) survey, which examines customer perceptions and habits in the grocery sector across regions around the world, indicates that in an increasingly saturated market, retailers are seeking to remain competitive and differentiate themselves by either providing superior value or offering exceptional offerings, while making successful exceptions in very special cases to balance the two.

“The survey shows that many customer segments in the UAE are now prioritising different factors when choosing a retailer, as the market in the country matures,” said Joe Abi Akl, Partner and Head of Retail and Consumer, India, Middle East and Africa, Oliver Wyman.

Offer specialists must also ensure that they have greater control over their supply chain, and offer fresh, unique, high-quality products that meet the needs of customers in the UAE for local products, especially with 92% of customers seeking vegetables and fruits that were produced within the country.

The survey indicated that 60% of those surveyed in the UAE expressed their desire to obtain more services.

Advanced technologies, such as generative AI, are likely to play a vital and growing role in supporting differentiation and personalization in the UAE grocery sector, a view supported by those surveyed, with 71% saying they would like personalized promotions and 60% wanting AI-powered services.

Oliver Wyman report:

  • 71% want personalized offers
  • 60% want AI-powered services
  • 92% are looking for Emirati vegetables and fruits
  • Consumers are more ready for robots

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