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The Arab World Unbound: Tapping into the Power of 350 Million Consumers

ISBN: 978-1-118-23642-0
272 pages
July 2012, Jossey-Bass
The Arab World Unbound: Tapping into the Power of 350 Million Consumers (1118236424) cover image
An expert's guide to exploring business opportunities in the burgeoning Arab marketplace

This groundbreaking book reveals the myriad opportunities presented by the Arab World's market of 350 million consumers, who collectively wield the ninth-largest economy in the world. Based on the author's firsthand research, including hundreds of market visits and more than 600 interviews at companies doing business throughout the region, this book shows how globally interconnected and vibrant the Arab markets are.

Through a rich blend of data and anecdotal observations, it chronicles how, by respecting the region's culture and religious norms, hundreds of local and multinational companies and entrepreneurs are creating successful businesses in this large and growing marketplace.

  • Hundreds of interviews and illustrative examples peel away stereotypes about Arab consumers to reveal diverse, vibrant and entrepreneurial consumer markets
  • Explains how multinational companies, such as Coca-Cola, Unilever, and Proctor & Gamble, and leading regional companies are working successfully in the Arab nations
  • Shows how Arab entrepreneurs, both men and women, are shaping the regional and global marketplaces
  • Vijay Mahajan, author of two previous award-winning books on emerging markets, is one of the world's most-cited researchers in the business and economics sector

As the global marketplace continues to expand, this book offers anyone interested in investing in the Arab world an expert perspective on the boundless business opportunities.

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Preface: A Consumer Rihla xi

Introduction 1

PART I DISCOVERING THE ARAB WORLD

1 DRINKING RED BULL IN DAHIYEH 9

The Arab Market Is Vibrant and Globally Interconnected Arab Consumers Control More Spending Power Than You Think

The Shadow Economy

Shades of India and China

Opportunities Beyond Crude Oil and Abaya

Household Spending in the Arab World

Beyond Boycotts and Barriers

Chicken Fights: Local Competition in the Arab Market

The Global Emergence of Arab Brands

A Worldwide Hub: The Globally Connected Arab World

The Arab World Is Neither CNN’s nor Al Jazeera’s

2 THE DIVERSITY OF THE ARAB WORLD 51

No Harm in Haram

Not All the Consumers in Arab Countries Are Arab

The Diversity of Arab Consumers

Segmenting the Arab Consumer Markets

Embracing the Diverse Habits of Arab Consumers

Language Differences

The Market Dominance of Saudi Arabia and the GCC

Saudi Arabia’s Influence Within Other Markets

Think Regional, Act Local

3 ISLAM MATTERS: THE IMPACT OF THE FIVE PILLARS OF ISLAM ON CONSUMERS IN THE ARAB WORLD 87

The Difference Between Culture and Religion

Why Shahada Matters

Why Salah Matters

Why Sawm Matters

Why Zakat Matters

Why Hajj and Umrah Matter

Islam in the Everyday

PART II TAPPING INTO THE WELL OF ARAB CONSUMERS

4 THESHABAB: TAPPING INTO THE ARAB YOUTH MARKET 127

The Shabab Demographic Dividend

The Shabab Crave the Best Brands, Wherever They Come From

The Shabab Generation Is Molding the Consumer Market

The Shabab Generation Is Changing the Arab Workforce

The Shabab Are Transforming the Private Sector

The Shabab and Education

The Shabab and Marriage

5 ARABIA TWO: TAPPING INTO THE ARAB MIDDLE CLASS 157

The Rise of the Middle Class Is Changing Arab Consumer Markets

Identifying the Arab Middle Class

Tapping into Arabia Two

Tapping into Arab Consumer Power at All Levels

Urbanization, Modern Trade, and Arabia Two

Arabia Two and the Balance Between Tradition and Modernity

6 TAPPING INTO THE MARKET OF ARAB WOMEN 185

Arab Women Have Money to Spend

Educated Women Are Reshaping the Arab Market

The Arab Woman as a Consumer

Inside and Outside: The Dual Identities of Arab Women

Tapping into the Arab Beauty Market

The Arab Woman as Wife and Mother

Arab Women as Head of the Household

The Veil Doesn’t Hide the Arab Woman’s Mind

Arab Women as Business Leaders

Arab Women Are Reshaping the Region on Their Own Terms

7 TAPPING INTO THE ARAB TECHNOLOGY MARKET 229

The Spread of Internet Use Opens Up New Paths to Consumers

The Rise of Social Media

Tapping into Arab E-Commerce

Using Technology to Recapture the Golden Age

On the Go: The Market for Mobile Phones

Building the High-Tech Industry in Jordan

The Technological Arab Spring

8 TAPPING INTO THE ARAB MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT MARKET 257

Television Advertising in the Arab World

Arab Cinema and Film

Dancing in the Desert: Music in the Arab World

Art in the Arab World

Books and Bookstores

The Birth of an Arab Superhero

9 TAPPING INTO THE ARAB DIASPORA 299

Linking the Diaspora to the Arab World

Remittances Constitute a Critical Piece of Many Arab Economies

Tapping into the Arab Diaspora

The Arab Diaspora Has Made a Name for Itself

Tapping into Opportunities Around the World

You Can Go Home Again

The Diaspora Is Bringing Different Worlds Together

PART III CONCLUSION

10 REBRANDING THE ARAB WORLD 335

Yalla Arabia!

Capturing the Region’s Yalla Energy with a New Arab Brand

Sustaining the Yalla Energy of Family Businesses

Harvesting the Yalla Energy of Arab Youth

Fueling the Yalla Energy of Arab Entrepreneurs

Enabling a New Yalla Energy Among Disadvantaged Arabs

A Call to Action

The Richness of the Past and the Promise of the Future

Acknowledgments 373

The Author 391

Index 393

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Vijay Mahajan holds the John P. Harbin Centennial Chair in Business at McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and received several lifetime achievement awards, including the American Marketing Association Charles Coolidge Parlin Award for visionary leadership in scientific marketing and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Technology (Kanpur). Mahajan is the author of eleven books, including Africa Rising and The 86 Percent Solution.

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