UAE Tops Middle East in terms of per month spend on dining out: MasterCard survey

Press release
Published December 7th, 2011 - 07:10 GMT

Dining and entertainment continue to be important priorities for UAE consumers, according to findings of the latest MasterCard survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities - Dining and Entertainment. 

UAE consumers surveyed spend an average of AED 841 (USD 229) per month on eating out, topping other Middle East markets such as Qatar (average spend of AED 774/ USD 211 per month), Kuwait (average spend of AED 719/ USD 196 per month), Lebanon (average spend of AED 385/ USD 105 per month), Oman (average spend of AED 242/ USD 66 per month) and Egypt (average spend of AED 139/ USD 38 per month). 

In fact, in the UAE, 30% of consumers spend between AED 370-1,836 (USD 101-500) on dining out. Those above the age of 55 years tend to be the highest spenders, disbursing an average of AED 2,710 (USD 738) per month, while those with an annual household income of AED 110,184 (USD 30,000) and above, spend close to AED 955 (USD 260) per month. In addition, 11% of the consumers in the UAE said that they were likely to eat out more in the latter half of 2011 compared to previous months. 

Food courts are the most preferred dining outlets, with 88% of the respondents visiting them in past months. The next most popular choices for UAE consumers were quick serve/ fast food restaurants (86%), mid-range family restaurants/ cafes (63%), fine dining, standalone restaurants (56%) and fine dining within hotels (36%). 

Cash emerged as the most preferred method of payment for UAE consumers across most dining outlet types. However, credit cards were more popular in some cases. Of those who visited hotels for fine dining, 66% used credit cards compared to 21% who used cash. Among those who visited fine dining, standalone restaurants, 49% used credit cards compared to 32% who used cash. 

“The UAE is renowned for its world-class restaurants and its diverse array of cuisine offerings which cater to a wide range of ethnic groups and age brackets. Consumers enjoy these lifestyle choices  as indicated by the strong results for the dining segment in MasterCard’s latest survey. This suggests a positive outlook for the UAE’s hospitality sector,” said Eyad Al-Kourdi, vice president and country manager, UAE, MasterCard Worldwide. 

“In addition, the emirates’ development of leading entertainment events and theme parks and its strong support for the cinematic arts is also well received by consumers ,” he added. 

Trends in Entertainment:    

Entertainment continues to be rated highly, with two in three UAE consumers having visited cinemas and one in two UAE consumers having visited amusement/ theme parks in recent months. Interestingly, more males (72%) than females (59%) like to go to the cinema. 

The next most popular entertainment option for UAE consumers were health club/gymnasiums (29%) and live performances (14%). 

Looking at the second half of 2011, the top entertainment priorities for UAE consumers appear to be catching a movie at the cinema (65%), visiting amusement or theme parks (47%) and going to a health club (32%). 

Leisure activities and hobbies that UAE consumers currently enjoy or would be interested in for the coming months include shopping (48%), food (35%), surfing the web (34%), sport (23%) and reading (20%). 

On average, UAE consumers spend 13% of their personal monthly income on leisure, hobbies, and personal entertainment. 

The latest survey was conducted from 15 March and 27 April this year with 17,620 consumers from 25 markets. Data collection was via internet surveys, personal, telephone and Computer Aided Telephone interviews, with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary. The survey and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.

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