Understand Arab Millennials before you market to them

September 28, 2018

Growing up incredibly skilled with social media and smartphones, in a world complicated by financial crisis and conflicts, Arab Millennials are a complex generation. They are also arguably the most misunderstood generation in Arab history. By matching reality with the myths, we can start on the road to marketing to them:

Lazy? As per a recent report, 63% of business owners evaluated by a bank in the Middle East were aged 35 or less, with an average workday of 12.5 hours. That is the highest percentage of millennial entrepreneurs in the world, working more than two hours beyond the global average of Millennial Entrepreneurs. Millennial employees are also willing to sacrifice at work more than any other generation by working harder, longer, and taking fewer vacations. Millennials very quickly think they are irreplaceable to the company, and if companies can augment this sentiment by giving Millennials a purpose beyond profit, they are capable of being the hardest workers on the team.

Simply don’t care? Millennials are a generation that has grown up with social media. This means they are the first generation that has grown up with two different versions of reality. There is the official version from media and authorities, and another version from the virtual conversations around them. It is not that they do not care, it is more like they are wary of many truths and dogmas that the generation before them took for granted. This wariness can come across as not caring.

Entitled and impatient? There is a narrative that because of generous state policies or a misplaced sense of entitlement, Arab Millennials unrealistically expect to land a comfortable secure job and reach a managerial level in a short time. This completely misses the point. Yes, Millennials expect and want quick success, but this is because they live in times of watching college dropouts become millionaires! They don’t think they’re entitled, rather they demand opportunities that will help them succeed where they can show their mettle.

They have grown up in a culture of “instant gratification” which is mistaken for impatience. There’s an app for everything! Understanding this instant gratification is key to designing their UX and selling them products.

Can’t manage pressure? This is simply wrong. Maintaining multiple social personas combined with real-world pressures means they are exposed to more pressure and learn to cope with them at an earlier age. Social skills to use in the workplace, empathy and mindfulness needed for collaboration are more important now than ever, and Arab Millennials are armed to the teeth in them.

Narcissistic? They are a multiscreen generation who has grown up on social media with curated identities. They are judging and being judged every second – This adds stress to an already tense young adult, yet they were not taught any formal coping mechanisms. So, because they can often learn empathy in group environments late, they can appear uncaring of others.


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