Qatar luxury spending highest among GCC countries

Spending on luxury goods and experiences in Qatar is highest in the GCC region. Average spending on luxuries in Qatar is $4,000 per month per household — the highest among five countries in GCC (Saudi Arabia not included), said a senior official of American Express Middle East yesterday.

Average spending for GCC countries on luxuries is $2,000.

The trend on spending on luxuries is likely to continue in 2016, according to a survey commissioned by American Express Middle East across five GCC countries. The survey on ‘Spending Habits’ in the region did not cover Saudi Arabia.

“Even with economic change looming, the majority of residents in Qatar did not cut back their spending in 2015,” said Mazin Khoury, Chief Executive Officer, American Express Middle East while giving details of the survey. “Around 76 percent of the respondents from Qatar did not cut back spending in 2015. They spent more than planned or the same amount while just 24 percent cut back their spending,” he said.

Dubai is the number one destination for residents in Qatar when it comes to luxury shopping.

The survey, conducted in November, December last year, covered high income households in the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait. The study noted a noticeable shift in general spending habits with people focusing on essentials.

“Nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents from GCC cut back on planned spending in the last 12 months. Over three quarters of respondents (79%) said they spent more on transport, and 74% paid more on rent. Budgets for socialising were also squeezed with 42% spending less on this category, said Khoury. “The economic headwinds across the region are affecting many and we have seen a significant switch in how people are using their disposable income. Despite that, we are still seeing buoyant spending on luxury experiences and goods,” said Khoury.

As with everyday spending, there is also a change in the way people spend on luxuries, added the survey. In Qatar, nearly a quarter (24 percent) of respondents plan to prioritise personal wellness in the next 12 months with fine dining the category to lose out.

“In Qatar, personal wellness looks like will be a big gainer in 2016,” said Khoury.

Holidays (32 percent), Fine Dining (31 percent) and Personal Wellness (17 percent) were the categories people spent the most on in terms of luxury experiences. In case of spending on luxury goods, fashion (27 percent), jewelry (17 percent) and luxury F&B (food and beverages) at home (15 percent) are the categories people anticipate to spend the most.

Doha skyline