Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – 12 May 2016: Visa Inc., a global payments technology company, today announced results of the Professionals Study1 conducted in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The study is part of a global research by Visa of consumer spending patterns, behaviors, priorities and outlook on the local as well as global economy.
The survey, based on responses from citizens and residents in Saudi who hold at least one payment card and are aged between 18 and 552, revealed that professionals are highly positive on the outlook for their own personal finances, household income and future employment opportunities, with 58 per cent of the respondents indicating they expect their personal income to increase in the future.3This positive sentiment is also a driver for more spending on holidays, nights out and fashion and clothing in the coming 12 months. Over half of professionals in Saudi also said they intend to donate more to charity.4
The study showed that professionals consider children’s education (61%) and holistic development (58%), time with family (52%), and improving personal finances (46%) as the most important things in their lives. Professionals between 18 and 29 years of age are also focused on career advancement while balancing a healthy and fit lifestyle.5
Ahmed Gaber, Visa General Manager for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain, said, “The study shows a strong relationship between confidence in the resilience and size of the Saudi market and individual expectations for a rise in their own personal wealth, which in turn is linked with higher levels of discretionary spending. The overall economy will also benefit from an increase in both spending and investments as that supports local business in the Kingdom.”
The study identified five types of Saudi professionals based on their definition of luxury – exclusivity (26%), status seekers (25%), quality focused (22%), brand identifiers (14%), and experiential rewarders (13%).6
About 26 per cent of Saudi professionals said they are driven by exclusivity in acquiring luxury items. They generally own products before others, and like getting services and experiences that are specifically catered to their preferences. They are likely to hold one premium credit card on average and spend larger amounts on casual dining, personal care and jewelry.7
Nearly 25 per cent of the respondents indicated that they associate luxury with status. These consumers use products that are often endorsed by celebrities since they believe luxury is a sign of social standing. They enjoy attracting attention from their peers and are more likely to hold premium or platinum credit cards.8
Professionals in Saudi, who are more likely to use credit cards (84 per cent) than debit cards (53 per cent),9 spend almost SAR 16,000 on average every month on essentials such as household bills (79 per cent) in addition to discretionary items such as fine dining (56 per cent), and family holidays (44 per cent). These professionals put aside and save about SAR 9,000 per month for spending on discretionary products and services10. Professionals aged 18-to-29 spend more on casual dining and new cars compared with older age groups.11
Professionals in Saudi Arabia are also frequent users of social networks and online media, with over 67 per cent of respondents indicating that they use social networking sites. About 75 per cent of KSA professionals use chatting apps and 64 per cent visit video streaming websites12.
Credit cards are the top source of funds for online payments and are mainly used while purchasing electronics and appliances (51%), and fashion and beauty products (46%). The majority of professionals in Saudi shop online, with eCommerce spending largely limited to fashion, clothing, electronics and appliances13.
Younger professionals, aged between of 18-to-29, are more likely to use bank accounts to fund digital payment services, while older counterparts are more likely to use direct debit. About 80 per cent of professionals in Saudi said debit cards are a more convenient source of funds than credit cards since they help limit the amount of money available in the mobile wallet.14
Nearly 75 per cent of professionals in Saudi travel for leisure, usually in groups of 3-to-4, and more than half (56%) of them book their air tickets directly from the airline’s website. Meanwhile, about 40 per cent of professionals book tickets through traditional travel agents and only 4 per cent use online travel agencies or ticket comparison websites15.
“For professionals, the quality of their accommodation is an important factor in the whole travel experience. Visa understands these needs and has created a variety of benefits to drive cross-border travel, including partnering with global hotel chains like Jumeirah, and the Visa Explore app that offers cardholders personalized travel deals, dining, entertainment, shopping and other privileges. We are committed to enabling our customers to enjoy an assortment of experiences that can make each holiday that much more memorable,” said Gaber.
About Visa Inc.
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable electronic payments. We operate one of the world's most advanced processing networks — VisaNet — that is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and assured payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, pay ahead of time with prepaid or pay later with credit products. For more information, visit www.visamiddleeast.com
1 A total of 848 respondents were interviewed online via panel in KSA for the study. About 69 per cent of the interviewees were mid-income professionals (20K-35K SAR/month) and 31 per cent were upper-income professionals (>35 SAR/month). The respondents, 63 per cent of whom were male and 37 per cent female, were also categorised into three age groups: 18-29 (Gen Y or younger professionals), 30-39 and 40-55 (older professionals).
2 Infographic reference – Methodology; explained in detail in the footnote
3 Infographic reference – ‘Their Financial Outlook’
4 Infographic reference – ‘Given positive consumer sentiment…’
5 Visa Professionals Study 2015: KSA Report: “Most important personal goals - by age %”, slide 9
6 Infographic reference – ‘We identified five types of consumers…’
7 Visa Professionals Study 2015: KSA Report: “Meet the Exclusives”, slide 16
8 Visa Professionals Study 2015: KSA Report: “Meet the Status Seekers”, slide 17
9 Infographic reference – ‘KSA professionals are more likely to use…’
10 Infographic reference – ‘On Average’ and ‘When they spend, they spend on…’
11 Visa Professionals Study 2015: KSA Report: “Mean monthly frequency / Average occasion spend”, slide 25
12 Infographic reference – ‘KSA professionals are frequent users of social media’
13 Infographic reference – Credit cards are the top source of funds’ and ‘They frequently spend on’
14 Visa Professionals Study 2015: KSA Report: “Usual source of funds for digital payment services (%)”, slide 38
15 Infographic reference ‘Purpose of travel’ And ‘Their digital world’