Grocery, apparel spending likely to increase among UAE consumers in the next 12 months
June 20th, 2023, Bhawna Singh

Grocery, apparel spending likely to increase among UAE consumers in the next 12 months

Around the world, many consumers are feeling the effects of rising inflation and the rising cost of living, forcing them to cut back in areas of spending to try and balance their finances. Latest data from YouGov’s Global FMCG/CPG & Retail whitepaper 2023 – Changing purchasing habits in a cost-of-living crisis, shows that more than two in five (44%) consumers in UAE have seen a decrease in their disposable income over the past 12 months while 27% have seen no change. With only 22% having experienced an increase, overall, the negative impact on disposable income outweighs the positive more by two-fold.

When it comes to changes by age group, we can see how the over 35 are hit hard by inflation, with the 55+ adults experiencing the hardest impact (at 53%). On the other hand, young adults between 25–34 years appear to be the least impacted.

The report also explores the products and services that are showing increasing price sensitivity in the past six months.

Groceries top the list of the most price-sensitive categories with more than two in five UAE consumers saying they are concerned about the price of groceries (44%). A similar proportion (41%) is conscious of the price of clothing/ shoes. Around a third have been concerned about the cost of mobile phones (35%) and take-out food (31%). Air travel (30%) and electronics (29%) fall within the next tier of price-sensitive categories, along with utilities (27%), car/vehicle (26%) and medicine & healthcare products (25%).

Despite experiencing a change in disposable income, consumers seem confident about their future spending and are likely to increase their spending in most of the listed categories.

Grocery spending is likely to surge, with more than a third (36%) planning to increase spend on food & beverages in the next 12 months, considerably more than those who intend to spend less (22%). Similarly, the apparel and household supplies/ toiletries categories can expect more or the same amount of spend from consumers than a cutback.

The personal care category is likely to remain stable, with a higher proportion saying they will spend the same amount than those who may increase or decrease their spending.

The two categories most likely to be affected by inflation are toys/puzzles/games/books and alcohol, where consumers are more likely to not buy or reduce their spend than increase it.

In order to manage their expenses better, consumers are resorting to a number of smart shopping tactics. More than a third of consumers in UAE have shopped at a budget or cheaper store (35%), compared prices (34%), or maintained a tight budget (34%). Using discount codes or coupons to save money was the next best tactic (32%), closely followed by waiting for sales to buy their desired products (31%).

Looking ahead, using discount codes to apply a reduction in price is expected to be the top future tactic, with two in five UAE consumers saying so (40%). This is closely followed by waiting for the price of products to be slashed in sales or on sale days (39%), shopping at budget stores (37%), price comparison (37%), and a tight shopping budget (37%).

To download the full global report, click here.


The insights in this report are drawn from a recent global YouGov Custom Survey focusing on the FMCG/CPG and Retail sectors. Covering 18 global markets of more than 19,000 respondents, our survey was fielded between 17th January 2023 and 1st February 2023. Data for UAE is based on a nationally representative sample of 1054 respondents.

The report explores how consumer purchasing behavior adjusts to higher prices, the FMCG/CPG categories consumers are cutting back - or spending more on - and investigates the tactics consumers are implementing to save money.

The YouGov panel provides a naturally accurate and representative view of the population. Data is adjusted with mild weighting using interlocking demographic characteristics—methodology considered advanced in the market research space.