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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

Saudi teens are more restricted, especially in how they may dress.

Given this, the tailored look is more popular there, with one out of three preferring it strongly – understandable given the paucity of ready-made abaya/thobe choices. Defying social norms is harder but they explore ways to test the limits.

Thus there is a niche segment of budding fashionistas anxious to emulate their UAE cousins. This might explain why a fashion brand like Zara features on UAE and Saudi teens’ list of favorite brands.

Health and beauty is still a female domain, with more girls than boys spending on it. On average, Middle Eastern girls spend double the amount boys do. And girls in the UAE and Saudi Arabia spend a lot more than their global counterparts. Egyptian girls pay less attention to health and beauty – again due to their having less money.

Also, perhaps because they enjoy more freedom in how they dress vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Egyptians girls rely less on beauty aids.

In short, Arab teens have taken global trends in technology, fashion, entertainment and lifestyle and adapted them to the local culture.

AMRB worked with US-based TRU, a leader in teen research. In 2008-09, TRU conducted the Global Teen Research study across 16 countries. The 2009-10 edition was expanded to cover 25 countries including the UAE*, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

About the study

The study covered local Arab male and female teens aged 12-19 years in a range of income groups. We conducted face-to-face interviews with 2,000 teenagers (KSA, 800; UAE, 400; and Egypt, 800). In the UAE and Egypt, we interviewed respondents across two cities each (UAE: Dubai and Abu Dhabi; Egypt: Cairo and Alexandria). In Saudi Arabia we went to Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam. 2009-2010. UAE teens in this article refers only to Emirati teens.

– Article by Sai Bhaswana and Ram Dhara, AMRB MENA

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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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