UAE crowned king of advertising spending in region
The concerted marketing and advertising effort to woo the Arab traveller to visit the UAE during summer and offer distractions from the socio-political situation in the wider region has shown up in the third quarter advertising spend numbers.
Advertisers spent $364 million (Dh1.3 billion) in the July to September quarter in the UAE compared with an estimated $344 million a quarter earlier. This is as per the projections of the Pan Arab Research Centre (Parc) based on the official media rate cards put out by the various entities. It does not take into account the discounts that media entities typically offer clients.
In the year through September, the Parc findings confirm the UAE as the leading advertiser in the region with $1.06 billion, quite some distance from second-placed Saudi Arabia’s $972 million.
Last year’s regional ad spend leader Egypt fell a long way down the pecking order with an estimated spend of $652 million, as the tourism and allied sectors spent less on promoting themselves following the seismic nature of the changes wrought on the political front. “Caution continues to be the watchword for advertisers as there has been some improvement in consumer confidence in some markets but less obvious in others,” said a senior official with a leading advertiser. “It has made for an extremely fragmented ad marketplace and far from being the composite one in the popular imagination.”
Among the competing platforms, newspapers in the UAE recorded a 10 percent drop in advertising in the year through September, though it was easily the dominant player with a 59 percent share of the overall spend. “Television has made a strong return with a 11 percent gain in the period January to September and so did magazines with a 20 percent upturn,” said Shaharyar Umar, marketing director at Parc. So can it be said that the UAE’s ad industry might be slightly better off than its neighbours as 2012 looms in the foreground? “Agencies and advertisers have started feeling consumer confidence return and this is being reflected in the enhanced number of footfalls in malls, the growth in visitors for the recent trade shows,” said Sunil Roy at Publilink Advertising.
“The UAE is now used as a launch pad — international brands are enhancing their presence by opening more exclusive outlets, many movies are being premiered etc. “All this tells a tale of improved consumer confidence and that’s the most important factor the industry can take into 2012 right now,” Roy said.
Retail pulls its socks up
According to the latest Pan Arab Research Centre (Parc) data, while advertising driven by local government agencies is down by 4 percent in the year to date, the shopping sector pulled its weight and recorded a higher ad spend of 6 percent from the 2010 numbers. It was no surprise that travel and tourism related entities were particularly active during the third quarter and generated an 18 percent increase in ad spend. Real estate advertising continues to feel the pain and is down by 16 percent.
Among the top individual spenders in the UAE are etisalat, du and Carrefour.