Our recently released 2013 Digital IQ Index: Middle East Prestige is L2’s first study on the very dynamic, very affluent region. Just as in Russia, India, Brazil, or China, luxury brands in these countries–i.e., Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE–face a unique set of challenges. At the top of the list for this region is the much more conservative standards of dress and appearance for women, which makes marketing luxury fashion and beauty merchandise tricky. Standards vary country to country, obviously, and what might be considered inappropriate for Saudi Arabia could be perfectly fine in the UAE, but for global brands creating localized content, such specific targeting requires a top-level commitment to deep cultural expertise. It’s important, then, for companies looking to expand their digital presence in the Middle East to really understand their markets. That’s markets, plural. In the infographic below, we’ve laid out a starting point, or primer, for the five countries included in this report. In addition to more general data about internet penetration, we include a breakdown of demographics important to the luxury sector, such as ultra high net worth individuals, source of wealth, and preferred online payment options.

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