UAE teens are biggest global spenders

Updated: May 24, 2011, 12:21 PM IST

Dubai: Teenagers in the United Arab Emirates fritter away more than USD 100 a week on goods and services, nearly four times as much as their global peers, a new survey has revealed.

In comparison, young adults in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf`s wealthiest state, spend around USD 56 a week while teenagers in Egypt fork out just USD 7 a week.

UAE girls were leading the charge in the UAE, while boys were the biggest spenders in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Globally, a teenager`s average weekly financial spend was USD 28, an Arabia Business report said, quoting the `Global Teen study-MENA edition 2011` compiled by AMRB and global research company TRU.

Driving the wave of consumerism is the demand for mobile phones, iPods game consoles and other gadgets, in addition to day-to-day spending on clothes and entertainment, said Gagan Bhalla, the CEO of Dubai-based AMRB.

"Getting to know the spending habits of teens shows the great power they have as consumers. MENA teens in particular are some of the biggest spenders, especially when it comes to clothing, gadgets, and entertainment," he said.

The impact of the global recession seems to have done little to crimp spending habits in the Middle East and North Africa, with teens reporting they expected to spend more in 2011.

In the UAE, 62 per cent of respondents said their spending would increase in 2011, while 74 per cent of Saudi teens plan to up their expenditure this year.

"Despite the difference in affluence levels, the focus in the region is on `consumption` rather than `conservation` -- even the Egyptians, who don`t have much money, want to spend more next year," Bhalla was quoted as saying.

"The concept of saving is not instilled into youth from a young age and this could potentially be an alarming situation during economic downturns," he said.

The MENA arm of the survey polled 2,000 Arab youth aged 12 to 19 years.