Who doesn't like shopping, visiting more than 40+ retail stores, talking to 75+ shoppers,... across 3 different cities? This ICP team explored the shopping habits of different ethnic groups within the UAE.

Our Team, consisting of Yukari, Matea, Max, Prasun and Takashi just came back from Dubai, where we worked on the Phase 1 of the ICP project for our client Mama Sita’s, a renowned Filipino brand in the food and beverage industry.

Bringing our backgrounds together, it was an exciting journey for each one of us in different ways, from learning new things about the FMCG industry to strengthening the current knowledge by exploring the diversity of Dubai market.

Mama Sita’s is well established across the globe and loved by Filipinos as their flavors of home. Dubai, being their second largest market, was the perfect ground for us to discover opportunities for the business. With their strong Filipino heritage, they hold top level awareness among their consumers, bringing smiles to peopleโ€™s faces with the taste of home that their products deliver.

Upon arrival in Dubai, our Team was mesmerized by the scale and the structure of the city. For most of us, it was our first time there, and we were excited to get a hands-on experience of the city and the behaviours of the residents.

First thing we noticed was that Dubai was a true melting pot โ€“ so many different ethnicities and cultures combined, together creating a city of opportunities and such an interesting ground for us to start our research journey.

We spent our time in Dubai deep diving into market research โ€“ along with the local client representatives, we visited 7-8 stores per day in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi and conducted multiple shopper surveys with the goal to get the sense of what the specifics of this market are, how shoppers make their purchasing decisions, where do they usually shop, how often do they go to stores and are there differences in the shopping habits among different ethnicities, which was especially relevant insight for our project. Our primary takeaway was that shopping habits differ significantly among ethnicities. We realized that all the store chains we visited have very broad variety and their offerings cater to all ethnicities and their specific shopping habits. The market is extremely competitive, so high discounts are the main tool to attract shoppers.

Our main target group were Filipino shoppers and our research confirmed how high the awareness of Mama Sita’s is among them. It was so encouraging to see the positive feedback when mentioning the brand name and how strongly it is recognized among families. As food and cooking are a very important part of Filipino culture, this was an important acknowledgment of the brand value.

After gathering all the insights from the field, the second part of our trip was about building our conclusions and preparing the presentation for the Client. For this part, our coach Dominique Turpin joined us in Dubai, supporting us with his rich experience and guiding us in the right direction to produce valuable output for the Client.

After spending two weeks in Dubai, we can say with certainty that we are coming back to IMD enriched with new perspectives and highly motivated to continue our efforts in this project to make Mama Sita’s even stronger in the UAE market.

By Matea Majher and Yukari Hayasaka

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