Qatar flag Qatar: Buying and Selling

Advertising and marketing in Qatar

Marketing opportunities

Consumer Profile
Qatar has a population of 2.64 million (Planning and Statistics Authority of Qatar, 2021), however, it is mainly comprised of expats as Qatari citizens were no more than 333,000 in 2019 (Priya Dsouza Communications, latest data available). The population (and thus the customer base) has tripled in the decade up to 2011.
The median age of the population is 33.7 years. In terms of age structure, the group between 0-14 years represents 12.84% of the population, the one 15-24 years 11.78%, 25-54 years 70.66%, 55-64 years 3.53% and 65 years and around 1.19% (CIA World Factbook, 2020 est.). The totality of Qatari consumers are urban dwellers: the country has an urbanization rate among the highest in the world, at 99.2% in 2020 (CIA World Factbook).

Qatar has the highest level of GDP per capita in the world, estimated at USD 59.140 in 2021 (IMF). Such high levels of national wealth have helped to underpin the development of a strong retail market, nevertheless, inequalities are still evident.
In recent years the cost of living has grown significantly, fueled by high rental rates. The large presence of expats has influenced the products on offer in many retail establishments.

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia and an array of other Arab countries abruptly cut all diplomatic relations with Qatar, impacting the country’s retail market. However, this issue, which was one of the most severe diplomatic crises in the history of the Arabian Peninsula, ended in January 2021 when Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
Consumer Behaviour
In general, for Qatari consumers price is the key factor when making a purchase decision, and they actively seek sales and promotions whenever possible. However, consumers also take into consideration the quality of goods and services offered and are willing to try new products: the new-to-market status of goods could offer a competitive advantage.
Qatar is one of the biggest markets in the world for luxury products, and this trend is expected to continue in the next years. Fashion involvement, brand consciousness and social comparison have a significant impact on consumers’ attitude toward luxury brands.
Qatari consumers seek reviews and comments before considering purchasing a product or service, as in general they trust other consumers feedbacks more than advertising campaigns. Currently, advertisements in newspapers are the most common way to promote food and other fast-moving consumer goods.

Qatar is also trying to expand its e-commerce market as the country has many of the key ingredients for a favourable online market: a population with high levels of disposable income, a strong and secure ICT infrastructure, and a highly connected society. In fact, Qatar has been ranked number one in the world in 2020 in terms of internet penetration, with a rate of 99% (Digital Report 2020, We Are Social).
Prior to Covid-19, consumers still generally shopped in-store, due to questions of cultural affiliation, ease of access to modern shopping malls, and because they preferred to see the product and interact with a salesperson, who could provide them with direct information before making a purchase. In 2020, e-commerce activity in Qatar has increased significantly as a result of the restrictions imposed on consumers and retailers by the Covid-19 pandemic. Qatar's e-commerce industry is projected to jump from QAR 4.7 billion (US$1.3 billion) to QAR 12 billion (US$3.2 billion) by 2022 (USDA).
While e-commerce is rising, having a local representative is still the most effective way to reach the consumer base. Foreign companies are not allowed to directly market to the Qatari consumer base without registering as an entity in Qatar and acquiring local representation.
Consumers Associations
Qatari Consumer Protection Department (Ministry of Economy and Commerce)
Main Advertising Agencies
Al Mana Media
Whyte Creations
Krom Group
Al Mana Media

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Latest Update: May 2024