Anatomy of an Arab millennial

Arab millennials have become the majority of the MENA region’s consumer base, increasingly taking on leadership positions. With this generation gearing up to take charge of the future, we’ve decided to take a look at the anatomy of an Arab millennial, and how they differ from their global counterparts.

Where are their heads?

Arab millennials utilise digital media similarly to their Western peers. Social media, the Internet, satellite television - all of these are tools to be used for sharing, debating, and creating content. The Middle East is home to the highest proportion of millennial entrepreneurs in the world, with 63% of the business-owners aged 35 or under. 46% of them start businesses out of university, and their work hours are the longest worldwide, averaging at 12.5 hours per day. Arab youth tackles limited economic prospects head-on, with an individualised approach that focuses on personal wealth and supporting local endeavours. 

Where are their hearts?

Whilst millennials all over the world are notorious for their brand ‘promiscuity,’ Arab millennials express higher levels of loyalty when choosing which brands to engage with. The majority of Arab youth discovers, engages, and buys via mobile usage; however, they are also unforgiving of technical issues on mobile sites, and 43% of Saudi Arabian millennials will look for mobile optimized sites if they experience problems. Value is placed on personalised interactions, which makes them feel understood, increasing the likelihood of brand loyalty.

What do they see?

Cisco claims that 69% of consumer Internet traffic in 2017 in the MENA region will be to video. The world’s most avid YouTube viewers are in Saudi Arabia, with the most female-led channels in the region. The importance of maintaining an online visual presence has never been greater in the Arab world, and with so much of the youth turning to video content to consume and create, the goal should be to engage with them where they can see you. Through video, they have platforms where they can represent the goals and interests of their generation – it’s important we watch carefully.

What are they doing?

The MENA region is seeing a growth in its middle class, and as one of the world’s most youthful markets, Arabs are busy both earning and spending their money. Millennials in the region are using their wealth to fund a “whole new economy that mixes local values with surging consumption,” and this includes building stronger ties to the global economy. They want to use their wealth and networks to invigorate notions of personal rights, freedom, and enterprise. 

The skeleton of the millennial generation remains similar – increased media usage and focus on customer experience. Yet from this anatomical overview, it’s clear that the needs of Arab millennials require an approach personalised to them.