Iraq emerges as growth spot in Middle East (MENA)

Iraq is poised to be the next regional hotspot and local marketers are urged to get to grips faster with the nuances of the market, according to Steve Hamilton-Clark, CEO, TNS MENA, the world’s largest custom market research organization.

He said that Iraq’s GDP is set for rapid growth, pegged at some 33 per cent over the next three years, with income levels set to follow suit, creating a distinct middle class.

“As Iraq moves into its next cycle it is fast emerging as the next big consumer market, home to the region’s third largest population, estimated at 32 million.

“This provides a huge opportunity for brands across all categories to increase penetration, introduce new products and services, and build loyalty.”

Hamilton-Clark was citing the Iraqi As Consumer 2012 (IRAC) study carried out by TNS MENA and IIACSS which unveils a deeper understanding of what makes the Iraqi consumer tick.

He said the findings reveal key aspirations as national stability and security, strong family ties, financial independence, and education. Meanwhile, Iraqis also admit to having career ambitions, while expressing a steadfast religious orientation, big heartedness, pride, and a belief in their country.

Hamilton-Clark called the study ‘timely’. “The current understanding of today’s Iraqis, as people and as consumers, is inadequate. The Iraqi As Consumer 2012 study is a first of its kind in Iraq and brings some real insight to the table.”

He said that to gain insight into the various facets of the new Iraqi consumer, the study looked from the inside out to unearth the Iraqi of today – how they live, what they believe in and what they aspire to be.

The comprehensive study looked at 10 cities, indicating 41 per cent think Iraq’s current economic situation is good, with 32 per cent saying that now is the time to buy consumer durables. Meanwhile, 42 per cent stated things will continue to improve over the next six months.

Hamilton-Clark advised that as the Iraq begins to flourish, marketers must understand basic socio-demographics, general attitudes to life, lifestyle habits, brand affiliation, category interaction and retail shopper understanding.

“To get the supply chain in line with the demands of the Iraqi consumer, marketers must take time to dig deep and look across various profile groups to ensure desires, wants and needs are accurately met,” Hamilton-Clark added.