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Research lab launched to study consumers’ buying habits


Established by Global Aspects, facility will collect data through observation focus groups and situational exercises

February 18, 2014 3:33 by

A new UAE-based research laboratory aims to provide insights into consumer behaviour, by giving companies an insider’s perspective on how they make decisions.

Launched by market research consultancy Global Aspects on February 13, the facility – which is located in Dubai – will collect data through traditional focus groups, situational exercises and by observing behaviours.

“This will help to get our clients much more involved with what’s happening in insights consulting,” says Richard Barron, managing director of Global Aspects. “It’s all about delivering ‘wow’ moments and providing companies with a look at how their consumers think.”

According to him, the kind of research that is currently available in the Middle East region is definitely an improvement from a few years ago, but still not comparable with North America or Europe. “It’s a fairly mixed picture. Data is available, but the quality is quite variable and mixed.”

When explaining the impact this can have on companies, Barron says it can help businesses understand the value and reputation of their brands. “We’ve done a lot of work with Toshiba; one of the key things we did was to track different brands and [how they were perceived by consumers]. Our findings revealed the extent to which a brand was held in regard.” He explains that this, in result, helped the brand work on its pricing strategies, thereby offering a number of products that would be considered value for money, but also launching a line of premium products, which could then compete with brands, such as Sony and Apple.

Discussing the challenges of collecting data in the Middle East region, Barron says there are difficulties when it comes to multinational brands that fail to take cultural differences into account. “Sometimes we forgo our traditions, but we need to keep in touch with those issues.” He says bigger brands can sometimes enter the market with a “one-size-fits-all formula” that may not necessarily work in this region.

While there’s a general conception that there are issues with collecting personal information, he says: “There is really no difference in [the information] you can get, but it takes a sense of sensitivity and awareness of culture that perhaps aren’t always in place.” He notes it’s important not to “shoehorn” techniques that work in other parts of the world, but rather “take a step back and look at the issues and problems”.

Global Aspects works with clients to minimise risks in their ventures, by focusing efforts on bespoke primary research. Barron notes that the new facility “is designed to be the best in the region and will underline Dubai as a centre for excellence for business and commerce”.







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