Apple has emerged as the most intimate brand among UAE consumers in a new report, beating technology peers Samsung, Sony and Google, who all feature in the Top 10 Most Intimate Brands in the UAE.
Technology features prominently in the UAE top 10, with Samsung placed 3rd, Sony in 7th and Google 9th, while top luxury automotive brands also show up well, with Lexus in 2nd place and Toyota 4th.
Underlining the ability of retail brands to create intimacy with their consumers, global coffee chain Starbucks was ranked 6th and Swedish home store IKEA 10th.
The brand consultancy polled 6,000 consumers and undertook 52,000 brand evaluations in the US, Mexico and the UAE.
Results show that UAE residents have the highest intimacy with brands, suggesting greater willingness to form intimate relationships with brands. Mexico comes in second, and intimacy is lowest in the US.
Apple, which is set to open its biggest store in Dubai in a few weeks’ time, emerged No. 1 in all three countries.
Read: Is this where the world's biggest Apple Store is opening in Dubai?
In terms of gender, men in the UAE prefer Apple while women like Samsung. The report states that overall, women in the UAE report having stronger emotional relationships with retail and fashion brands, whereas men have slightly stronger emotional connections to technology brands.
In terms of UAE demographics, Apple is ranked No. 1 by both 25-34 year-olds as well as 35-44 year-olds while arch-rival Samsung is ranked No. 2 by individuals aged 25-34 while those between the ages of 35 and 44 years rank it at No. 4, behind Google and Nescafé.
In terms of socio-economic status, Samsung appeals to customers across all segments, ranked No. 1 among moderate and high socio-economic segments and No. 2 in the lower socio-economic level. Google is ranked No. 1 in the lower socio-economic level and, interestingly, Apple is ranked only once, at No. 2 in the moderate socio-economic level.
“This report is based on quantitative research among consumers where our goal was to measure, quantify and better understand how emotions impact brand relationships and further dimension which brands are most successful at creating these bonds,” said William Shintani, Partner at MBLM.
Technology and telecommunications segment in the UAE has an average Brand Intimacy Quotient of 37, four points above the average across all categories.
Apple is the top-ranked brand in the entire report, and has the highest quotient (75). Samsung and Sony round out the top three, and has significantly lower rates of fusing (where the customer and the brand become one, a reflection of the other) than Apple.
Canon and Nikon, two camera brands, ranked 5th and 6th. Among telecom brands, the older player Etisalat at No. 9 pips the younger Du at No. 10.
Social media brand Facebook ranks 7th, whereas Instagram and Twitter rank 14th and 17th, respectively.
Based on the fact that emotions drive decision-making and behaviour, brand consultancy MBLM defines brand intimacy as an essential relationship between a person and a brand that transcends purchase, usage, and loyalty.
MBLM Dubai says that the UAE country report was commissioned for the first time to understand the emotional bonds between UAE consumers and brands.
“The significance of the research findings is that intimate brands make business sense. The top ten most intimate brands outperform established financial indices for both revenue and profit growth over ten years. These brands also command a price premium, enjoying more financial resilience than brands in the same industries that are not intimate,” Shintani added.
Personal care specialist Dove (5th) is the only health and beauty brand to make the top 10, with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank achieving 8th place.
“At MBLM, we define brand intimacy as an essential relationship between a person and a brand, that when achieved has been proven to result in improved business performance,” said Jae Hwang, Partner at MBLM.
UAE Top 10 Most Intimate Brands 2015