x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Finger-licking food tops for teens

KFC, McDonald's, Adidas, Pepsi and Nokia make up the top five brands among Emirati teenagers, according to a report.

Of the teenagers questioned across Abu Dhabi and Dubai, 24 per cent said their favourite brand was KFC. Ravindranath K / The National
Of the teenagers questioned across Abu Dhabi and Dubai, 24 per cent said their favourite brand was KFC. Ravindranath K / The National

Fast food and sugary drinks dominate a list of the most popular brands among Emirati teens.

KFC, McDonald's, Adidas, Pepsi and Nokia make up the top five brands among Emirati teenagers, according to a report released yesterday by the research group AMRB.

Of the teenagers questioned across Abu Dhabi and Dubai, 24 per cent said their favourite brand was KFC.

The report surveyed 400 teenagers face to face in the UAE, with 2,000 teenagers participating overall across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena).

Deepali Bamane, the project director for the survey, said international brands that tweaked their products to give them a local spin were the most successful in the region.

KFC, for example, offered consumers Arabic options such as shawarma or flat breads.

"Emirati teens have the money to afford international brands," Ms Bamane said. "A very low percentage of teens said a local company was their favourite brand."

The study was conducted among local males and females aged 12 to 19 across all socio-economic classes.

Emiratis are second only to their Norwegian peers in spending the most money per week of any international teenager, splashing out an average of US$103 (Dh378) on clothes, fast food and entertainment.

The opportunity for brands to take advantage of teenagers with money to spend is also growing as teens embrace social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

"Mena teens are a delight for marketers," said Gagan Bhalla, the chief executive of AMRB for the Mena region. "Brands communicating to youth need engage the youth through social networking websites, innovative competitions involving the youth."

Karim Sabbagh, a consultant in Dubai with Booz & Company, said the survey reflected the ranking of brands on a global scale and that companies in the UAE needed to engage in a number of mediums to attract the youth in the country.

"If you go to Twitter and let's say there's a new offer by a major brand, just by looking at what is being said gives you a good picture of the response and the market," he said.

rjones@thenational.ae