Marketing trends in Saudi Arabia are currently undergoing an overhaul due to a growing domestic workforce, an influx of digital marketing strategies, and the implementation of the VAT (Value-Added Tax).

Efforts to increase the number of domestic Saudi citizens in the workface, including a rising number of women, is helping to lower the national unemployment rate and limit expat hiring.

Saudi Arabia demographics show a very young nation emerging with roughly half of the population reported as being under the age of 30 in 2018.

This young population is also tech-savvy, contributing to a shift in consumer trends from brick and mortar stores to the online realm. However, physical stores are still responsible for the bulk of sales country wide.

This growing trend in ecommerce is helping to increase consumer spending, although the VAT has put a bit of a damper on spending for the majority of the population. Even at a modest rate of 5%, the VAT has served to make consumers a little more value conscious with their purchases.

Digital Marketing Trends in Saudi Arabia

Enhanced broadband technology and the ever growing prevalence of smartphones is driving the online shopping market in the KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia).

Some of the most impactful trends include:

  • Mobile usage
  • Digital marketing power
  • YouTube advertising
  • Social media marketing
  • Data analytics

Mobile Usage

The majority of marketing efforts around the world today are focused on online consumers. The marketing trends in Saudi Arabia are no exception.

Research indicates that roughly 90% of the KSA population uses the internet on a regular basis. About half of those people use smartphones and other mobile devices to do so.

This has led to substantial increase in digital marketing strategies for businesses focusing on the region.

Young people in SA tend to use their smartphones to do their shopping online for items like electronics, clothing, and footwear.

Digital Marketing Power

Of the approximately 90% of the SA population that is active on the internet, which includes over 30 million people, about 88% of those users are online every day.

A professional website, strong online platform, and effective digital marketing strategies are the most effective way to reach Saudi Arabian consumers today, as well as for in the future.

Even though online sales still only make up a small percentage of total retail sales in the KSA, the ecommerce sector is developing rapidly.

Another trend among Saudi consumers is the option to pay in cash, even for online transactions. Almost half of all online transactions are paid in cash upon delivery. This may be due to internet security concerns, or skepticism over the quality of online products.

Either way, businesses targeting online sales in the region should attempt to partner with a reliable logistics partner that can handle cash collection.

YouTube Advertising

YouTube is the number one most visited website in all of the KSA. YouTube garners a heavy volume of SA traffic, getting upwards of 85 million hits a month. Users are staying on the site for a considerable amount of time, and visiting multiple pages.

This opens up a huge opportunity for businesses to reach a wide range of Saudi users with dedicated ad campaigns to promote relevant products and services.

Social Media Marketing

A very young population in Saudi Arabia has led to a massive increase in social media usage. Since the beginning of 2017, SA has experienced one of the highest growth rates of social media usage of any country on the planet. In 2017 alone, the number of social media users went up 32% with the world average being only 13%.

The most popular social media platform in the KSA is YouTube.

The second most popular is Snapchat, hosting about 9 million SA subscribers. It is a big hit due to its temporary storage functionality where nothing is stored for more than 24 hours. Users feel this creates a more genuine experience.

Other growing social media platforms in the region include Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Data Analytics

Online consumers all around the world are seeking a more personalized user experience, and the same holds true in the KSA.

Advanced data analytics are extremely helpful in this case, offering in-depth insights into every user’s personal preferences and purchasing trends.

In these circumstances it is even more necessary to develop recognizable branding, that caters directly to the needs of the target audience.

Omnichannel Strategy

For continued to success in a rapidly changing marketplace, an omnichannel approach to marketing is the most practical, with the greatest chance of success.

An omnichannel strategy involves reaching customers over a dynamic range of platforms, including ecommerce websites, SEO strategies, social media marketing, mobile apps, as well as brick and mortar stores.