A first-of-its-kind study into the podcast landscape of the UAE has revealed trust levels in the medium of the moment. Despite its young age, 92% of regular podcast listeners – defined as those who tune in every week – trust podcasts more than traditional media. That’s according to the latest findings from markettiers MENA who have teamed up with podcast consultancy 4DC to launch a report to canvas the appetite for podcasts in the UAE.
With podcasts currently undergoing a global renaissance, and with 16% of the population now tuning in at least weekly, listenership in the UAE is on a par with the UK. It is also creeping up behind the USA – which is for now, the world's premier podcast market.
Three quarters (76%) of those who live in the UAE are familiar with the term podcasting, signifying that we are moving towards a ‘tipping point’ whereby ‘regular listeners’ will soon describe a huge proportion of the country. According to one UAE media report, some podcasts saw their listenership double between 2017 and 2018.
When it comes to spending habits, the study revealed that podcast listeners in the UAE are a discerning audience who vastly outspend their peers by up to 26%. Sizing up shopping baskets is a good indicator of people's attitudes to life's essentials. And as an example, when it comes to food and drink, podcast listeners spend an average of 2996 AED ($816) per month – a quarter more than non-listeners. Podcast listeners also spend 25% more on entertainment and travel in comparison to non-listeners, proving that brands should be aware of this growing trend. The report also revealed stark increases in podcast listeners spend power when it came to lifestyle purchases, in-home spending, insurance and subscriptions.
But whereas the UAE already shares a rich rundown of traits with longstanding podcast nations, the UAE is, in some instances, already ahead of world trends. In both the US and the UK, listenership swings male and veers young: women and over 35s have been slow to buy-in. The UAE podcast gender split is roughly equal and penetration actually increases with age, hitting a peak of 60% in over 45 year olds.
Cheryl King, Managing Director, markettiers MENA, commented: “There is a long history of the oral tradition in the Middle East – hence why radio reaches more households than television. As a nation where digital progress is moving at warp speed, the medium is well on its way to becoming a new media powerhouse. Brands need to see that podcasting is a solid and successful way to reach plugged in, active, and worldly customers. The spend power bubbling away within the UAE listenership represents a remarkable opportunity for those who want to get ahead of the curve.”
Further statistics reveals that 93% of people who listen to a podcast, finish it. And what’s more, a third of shows are now in Arabic, highlighting that podcasts in local language are starting to win big amongst those looking for regionally specific content.
King concludes: “When faced with trends in what is still an emerging market, brands and advertisers often adopt a ‘wait and see’ mentality. But in podcasting, there is a sizeable opportunity now to jump on a simmering trend before it comes to represent a major media vertical.”