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Emirati teens struggling by on $130 a week…

Emirati teens struggling by on $130 a week…

Teenagers in the UAE, who get 20 times more pocket money than their Egyptian counterparts, are the most pampered in the world, according to a study by AMRB MENA.

April 18, 2010 4:05 by

Not surprisingly, importance accorded to religion was high. However, their aspirations were similar to global teens – in terms of either goods or brands. In fact, Middle East teens matched or exceeded their global counterparts in ownership of the most desirable durables. This is less true of Egypt, of course.

From teen to iTeen

Today’s Middle Eastern teen belongs to the iPhone/iPod generation as much as elsewhere – most teens in the region own mobile phones; even in Egypt seven in 10 teens own a mobile phone. Interestingly, aspiration to own a smartphone was much higher in the UAE and Saudi Arabia than even in Western countries – again, probably a function of wealth.

In terms of mobile phone brands, Nokia emerged as a clear leader – but it was interesting to note that preference among teens in the UAE and Saudi Arabia for Sony Ericsson (a brand that focuses more on audio visual functions) was somewhat higher than for Samsung.

Emirati and Saudi teens spend a lot of time online – seven-eight hours a week, using chat services and social networks. These services are used slightly more than email – perhaps an indication that in future this generation might view email in the same way as adults today view snail mail.

Given the online behavior of teens, it’s no wonder that Facebook is a favorite.

Teens and fashion

Fashion and personal grooming is as important in Middle Eastern teens’ lives as it is to teens everywhere, perhaps because it is about self-expression, freedom, confidence, individuality and attractiveness. As much money as ­possible is spent on it, and Middle Eastern teens are no different.

For most Middle Eastern teens, being well dressed is about having a wide variety of fashionable, quality clothing.

UAE teens, being the most advanced, are the fashionistas of the Middle East. One in three deem it important to be on top of trends as portrayed in fashion magazines. They are pushing against conservative social norms, with more open abayas and well-styled locks of hair peeping through their hijabs.

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  1. Miss Anne Thropic on April 19, 2010 11:33 am

    And I am guessing that given the prevalence of maids and nannies here, these kids don’t have to actually do any chores around the house to earn their $130….

  2. Andrew on April 21, 2010 10:35 am

    I remember being truly delighted if I got the equivalent of $40 a week, and that was only the last 2 years before university. Needless to say I also worked my summers when back home on “holiday”.

  3. Miss Anne Thropic on April 25, 2010 12:50 pm

    I’m still not used to the sight of being served at McDonalds or Pizza Hut by someone who is not a student, either high school or university.

  4. Yousif on May 26, 2010 12:30 pm

    Miss & Andrew…

    don’t feel envious.. In the long run, you are not the losers in this, the spoilt teenagers are.. the $130 will eventually run out, then this generation of arabs will become miserable, and won’t be talented, focused or energetic enough to do a single thing about it..

    The last generation has had 40-50 years of oil wealth to draw upon to improve her society.. all we’ve improved is the cashflow to foreign workers, Global Multinational retailers’ balance sheets, and our kids’ consumerist instincts… great!!

  5. Miss Anne Thropic on May 26, 2010 4:04 pm

    True, they will lose out in the end when the oil runs out and nobody wants to do the low-paid jobs here. But if you think I envy the kids who get $130 pocket money, you are sadly mistaken. I just feel sorry for them because they are growing up not knowing the value of money and not being encouraged to develop a work ethic. I didn’t get even close to that much pocket money as a kid and had one of the happiest childhoods anyone could wish for, largely because my family’s happiness did not depend on material things.

    No jealousy here!

  6. Andrew on June 17, 2010 6:35 am

    The consumerism and materialism is one thing that didn’t truly exist in this country when I first arrived here, in so far as it existed no more than it does anywhere.

    However the way things have changed in the last 10 years, and certainly the last 5, has made start to re-evaluate my priorities and long-term plans. I’m happy to stay here for a few more years until the global recession is fully over, but after that I intend to go.

  7. emjay on November 22, 2010 12:55 am

    What is most disgusting about these overly pampered Land Cruising chauvanists is their lack of respect for their environment.

    A recent trip to the the UAE, I found scores of them parked on the side of the highways and enjoying themselves with whatever they do in the desert. Passing the same spot the next day, you could tell where they had been by the loads of rubbish left behind. Looked absolutely ghastly.
    Maybe they expect the poor migrants to pick up their trash even when in the desert.


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