Nearly half of TikTok users in the Gulf region are turning to retail therapy for an emotional lift, a new report finds.
TikTok’s first ‘What’s Next: Shopping Trend Report’ analysed shifts in shopping behaviours and culture on the video-sharing platform. It found that 41 percent of users in the GCC are turning to retail therapy to make feel-good or mood-boosting purchases via the platform.
With mounting economic pressures and a post-pandemic return to normal routines weighing on Gulf residents, this data indicates many are turning to treats or hobbies as an emotional outlet.
TikTok has seen unprecedented growth over the past few years to become one of the most widely used social media platforms worldwide. The short-form video sharing app launched in 2016 and quickly gained traction among Gen Z users, tapping into trends and facilitating viral content like never before.
By 2022, the video entertainment app counted over 1 billion active monthly users globally, with estimates exceeding 1.4 billion users in early 2023 alone, according to Statista.
Beyond entertainment, TikTok has increasingly become a hub for online community, discovery, and even e-commerce interactions.
The inaugural report also uncovered the significant influence online communities are having on buying decisions in the region. According to the data, 44 percent of the video-sharing app users in the GCC buy products because the community is talking about them or to fit in with friends.
When it comes to advertising, the findings show TikTok promotions can significantly boost brands. Brands that advertised regularly on the platform saw a 41 percent increase in user trust levels. Meanwhile, users based in Saudi Arabia trusted advertised brands 24 percent more, while being 42 percent more loyal to them.
Users are far more likely to create and share content about the products they buy on TikTok than other social networks, the report suggests. A striking 57 percent of users in the region document purchases, doubling other platforms’ post-purchase rates. Repeated buyers are also more common, with app involvement raising retailer repurchasing 1.2 times.