MID:DLE EAST

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These brands are disrupting the status quo by changing consumer expectations. Though they span different industries, they possess a common characteristic; simplicity is at the core of experiences they deliver. They are empowering people, reimagining experience, removing friction and saving time.

1

 

Google

 

Internet search

2

Google

Rank Change: N/C
Score: 962
Industry: Internet search

“It makes my life easier!” raves one respondent, encapsulating what makes Google the simplest brand in the Middle East this year. The search engine’s service is both speedy and consistently delivers desired results. With some of its smaller interests being spun off following the creation of parent company Alphabet, Google is free to focus on providing even simpler experiences to its customers.

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2

 

YouTube

 

Social media

3

YouTube

Rank Change: N/C
Score: 930
Industry: Social media

One poetic respondent called the video streaming platform “the world inside this world,” and in many ways, YouTube is just that. With hours and hours of user videos uploaded to the platform, the brand—owned by Google—is a simultaneous live stream and archive of human activities across the globe. And having an accessible window into that world—without even needing to log in—is why respondents rate YouTube as simple.

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3

Al Baik

11

Restaurants

4

Al Baik

Rank Change: +11
Score: 861
Industry: Restaurants

This chain of Saudi Arabian fast food restaurants has been selling quick and convenient chicken and shrimp dishes for more than 40 years. Respondents laud speedy service even in times of high traffic and consistently delicious food. And being a local chain, Al Baik’s prices are about 30% lower than its competitors.

4

Samsung

1

Electronics

5

Samsung

Rank Change: -1
Score: 781
Industry: Electronics

User-friendliness, ubiquity of service centers, and spare parts are the reasons consumers see this electronics brand is simple. The attainable price points of many of its products—including smartphones—also received a frequent shout out in our survey.

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5

Toshiba

7

Electronics

6

Toshiba

Rank Change: +7
Score: 751
Industry: Electronics

Quality products and excellent customer service are why Toshiba lands in the Top 10 in the Middle East Simplicity Index. As one respondent summarized, this consumer electronics company is simple “because of hardware quality and ease of handling and maintenance.”

6

Panda

1

Retail / Grocery

7

Panda

Rank Change: -1
Score: 724
Industry: Retail / Grocery

Respondents find this supermarket chain simple for one main reason: convenience. A Saudi chain, Panda has been expanding across the United Arab Emirates and is planning to open in Egypt, which means it will soon be even simpler for more residents in the region to patronize its stores.

7

Sony

3

Electronics

8

Sony

Rank Change: -3
Score: 709
Industry: Electronics

For Sony, a little honesty and transparency goes a long way. Respondents indicate that the products are easy to use, customer service is good, and the brand’s advertising is straightforward. Managing customer expectations is a key component to building trust, and even simplicity.

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8

Toyota

22

Automotive

9

Toyota

Rank Change: +22
Score: 704
Industry: Automotive

The multitude of touchpoints for accessing service helps land this global car manufacturer in the Middle East Simplicity Index Top 10 this year. Respondents cite being able to easily communicate with the brand via phone and online, including social media. In addition, Toyota’s transparent and reasonable pricing also gets kudos from respondents.

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9

 

Yahoo!

 

Internet search

10

Yahoo!

Rank Change: N/C
Score: 700
Industry: Internet search

“I just feel at home with Yahoo and that makes it simpler for me,” explains one respondent. Others also mentioned that familiarity with the search engine was also a factor, and as a hub for email, news and chat, the brand receives high marks for allowing users to multi-task without leaving the platform.

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10

Carrefour

5

Retail / Grocery

11

Carrefour

Rank Change: +5
Score: 695
Industry: Retail / Grocery

French supermarket chain, Carrefour has been in the Middle East for 20 years, and receives high marks for convenience, high quality service, simple layout.“It is easy to shop in Carrefour as all their branches have a similar structure and products can be easily found,” notes a typical respondent.

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11

LG

7

Electronics

12

LG

Rank Change: +7
Score: 687
Industry: Electronics

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12

HTC

39

Electronics

13

HTC

Rank Change: +39
Score: 686
Industry: Electronics

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13

Lenovo

63

Electronics

14

Lenovo

Rank Change: +63
Score: 674
Industry: Electronics

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14

FlyDubai

26

Travel / Air

15

FlyDubai

Rank Change: +26
Score: 674
Industry: Travel / Air

15

Alinma Bank

23

Banks / Retail

16

Alinma Bank

Rank Change: +23
Score: 673
Industry: Banks / Retail

16

IKEA

8

Retail / General

17

IKEA

Rank Change: +8
Score: 671
Industry: Retail / General

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17

HP

9

Electronics

18

HP

Rank Change: -9
Score: 659
Industry: Electronics

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18

Al Jazeera

59

Media

19

Al Jazeera

Rank Change: +59
Score: 657
Industry: Media

19

Microsoft

10

Electronics

20

Microsoft

Rank Change: +10
Score: 656
Industry: Electronics

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20

Pizza Hut

3

Restaurants

21

Pizza Hut

Rank Change: -3
Score: 653
Industry: Restaurants

Also view in:

21

McDonald’s

15

Restaurants

22

McDonald’s

Rank Change: -15
Score: 653
Industry: Restaurants

Also view in:

22

Philips

4

Electronics

23

Philips

Rank Change: +4
Score: 648
Industry: Electronics

Also view in:

23

Emirates

4

Travel / Air

24

Emirates

Rank Change: +4
Score: 648
Industry: Travel / Air

24

SACO

28

Retail / General

25

SACO

Rank Change: +28
Score: 641
Industry: Retail / General

25

Zain

22

Telecom / Cell phone

26

Zain

Rank Change: +22
Score: 630
Industry: Telecom / Cell phone

26

Dell

19

Electronics

27

Dell

Rank Change: -19
Score: 626
Industry: Electronics

Also view in:

27

Twitter

4

Social media

28

Twitter

Rank Change: -4
Score: 626
Industry: Social media

Also view in:

28

Apple

17

Electronics

29

Apple

Rank Change: -17
Score: 625
Industry: Electronics

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29

Facebook

19

Social media

30

Facebook

Rank Change: -19
Score: 624
Industry: Social media

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30

The Saudi Investment Bank

86

Banks / Retail

31

The Saudi Investment Bank

Rank Change: +86
Score: 621
Industry: Banks / Retail

31

dr. CAFÉ

10

Restaurants

32

dr. CAFÉ

Rank Change: -10
Score: 619
Industry: Restaurants

32

Dubai Metro

13

Travel / Train

33

Dubai Metro

Rank Change: +13
Score: 618
Industry: Travel / Train

33

Alriyadh

6

Media

34

Alriyadh

Rank Change: +6
Score: 615
Industry: Media

34

Souq.com

21

Internet retail

35

Souq.com

Rank Change: -21
Score: 614
Industry: Internet retail

35

eXtra

16

Retail / General

36

eXtra

Rank Change: -16
Score: 607
Industry: Retail / General

36

 

Nissan

 

Automotive

37

Nissan

Rank Change: N/C
Score: 600
Industry: Automotive

37

Arab News

73

Media

38

Arab News

Rank Change: +73
Score: 594
Industry: Media

38

Asharq Al-Awsat

3

Media

39

Asharq Al-Awsat

Rank Change: -3
Score: 594
Industry: Media

39

Adidas

9

Fitness

40

Adidas

Rank Change: -9
Score: 591
Industry: Fitness

Also view in:

40

Kudu

11

Restaurants

41

Kudu

Rank Change: -11
Score: 591
Industry: Restaurants

41

Herfy

16

Restaurants

42

Herfy

Rank Change: -16
Score: 590
Industry: Restaurants

42

KFC

22

Restaurants

43

KFC

Rank Change: -22
Score: 589
Industry: Restaurants

Also view in:

43

ENOC

50

Utilities

44

ENOC

Rank Change: +50
Score: 588
Industry: Utilities

44

SABB

50

Banks / Retail

45

SABB

Rank Change: +50
Score: 587
Industry: Banks / Retail

45

Skype

23

Telecom / Cell phone

46

Skype

Rank Change: -23
Score: 578
Industry: Telecom / Cell phone

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46

 

Namshi

 

Internet retail

47

Namshi

Rank Change: N/A
Score: 577
Industry: Internet retail

47

The National

68

Media

48

The National

Rank Change: +68
Score: 570
Industry: Media

The National, an English-language daily newspaper published by government-owned Abu Dhabi Media, is another brand free-falling on the Middle East Simplicity Index. Down 45 spots year-to- year, it lands at #115. Impacted like all newspapers by an industry-wide shift to digital news platforms, respondents say the publication lacks relevance and is text-heavy, making it a less-than-easy read.

48

Sharaf DG

16

Retail / General

49

Sharaf DG

Rank Change: +16
Score: 569
Industry: Retail / General

49

Nike

5

Fitness

50

Nike

Rank Change: -5
Score: 567
Industry: Fitness

Also view in:

50

Starbucks

28

Restaurants

51

Starbucks

Rank Change: +28
Score: 567
Industry: Restaurants

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51

NEXT

20

Retail / Fashion

52

NEXT

Rank Change: +20
Score: 556
Industry: Retail / Fashion

52

DHL

35

Shipping / Mail

53

DHL

Rank Change: +35
Score: 549
Industry: Shipping / Mail

Also view in:

53

Etisalat

20

Telecom / Cell phone

54

Etisalat

Rank Change: -20
Score: 549
Industry: Telecom / Cell phone

54

The Body Shop

15

Retail / Health and beauty

55

The Body Shop

Rank Change: +15
Score: 546
Industry: Retail / Health and beauty

55

NCB

13

Banks / Retail

56

NCB

Rank Change: -13
Score: 543
Industry: Banks / Retail

56

Dubai TV

1

Media

57

Dubai TV

Rank Change: +1
Score: 539
Industry: Media

57

 

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

 

Banks / Retail

58

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

Rank Change: N/A
Score: 534
Industry: Banks / Retail

58

Saudia

47

Travel / Air

59

Saudia

Rank Change: +47
Score: 533
Industry: Travel / Air

59

Mobily

25

Telecom / Cell phone

60

Mobily

Rank Change: -25
Score: 531
Industry: Telecom / Cell phone

60

FedEx

17

Shipping / Mail

61

FedEx

Rank Change: -17
Score: 529
Industry: Shipping / Mail

Also view in:

61

Gulf News

45

Media

62

Gulf News

Rank Change: -45
Score: 523
Industry: Media

62

ADNOC

17

Utilities

63

ADNOC

Rank Change: +17
Score: 522
Industry: Utilities

63

Home Centre

17

Retail / General

64

Home Centre

Rank Change: -17
Score: 517
Industry: Retail / General

64

Qatar Airways

9

Travel / Air

65

Qatar Airways

Rank Change: +9
Score: 517
Industry: Travel / Air

65

ZARA

11

Retail / Fashion

66

ZARA

Rank Change: -11
Score: 512
Industry: Retail / Fashion

Also view in:

66

Saudi Railways

45

Travel / Train

67

Saudi Railways

Rank Change: +45
Score: 512
Industry: Travel / Train

67

H&M

14

Retail / Fashion

68

H&M

Rank Change: -14
Score: 510
Industry: Retail / Fashion

Also view in:

68

GMC

4

Automotive

69

GMC

Rank Change: +4
Score: 507
Industry: Automotive

69

Emirates NBD

10

Banks / Retail

70

Emirates NBD

Rank Change: -10
Score: 496
Industry: Banks / Retail

70

Rotana

22

Travel / Hotels

71

Rotana

Rank Change: +22
Score: 496
Industry: Travel / Hotels

71

du

10

Telecom / Cell phone

72

du

Rank Change: -10
Score: 493
Industry: Telecom / Cell phone

72

Aramex

7

Shipping / Mail

73

Aramex

Rank Change: -7
Score: 487
Industry: Shipping / Mail

73

Paris Gallery

7

Retail / Health and beauty

74

Paris Gallery

Rank Change: -7
Score: 484
Industry: Retail / Health and beauty

74

UPS

24

Shipping / Mail

75

UPS

Rank Change: +24
Score: 482
Industry: Shipping / Mail

Also view in:

75

Al Arabiya

19

Media

76

Al Arabiya

Rank Change: -19
Score: 481
Industry: Media

76

 

Sephora

 

Retail / Health and beauty

77

Sephora

Rank Change: N/A
Score: 474
Industry: Retail / Health and beauty

Also view in:

77

Sheraton

6

Travel / Hotels

78

Sheraton

Rank Change: +6
Score: 470
Industry: Travel / Hotels

78

Marks & Spencer

19

Retail / General

79

Marks & Spencer

Rank Change: +19
Score: 463
Industry: Retail / General

Also view in:

79

 

Faces

 

Retail / Health and beauty

80

Faces

Rank Change: N/A
Score: 463
Industry: Retail / Health and beauty

80

 

Al Tayyar

 

Travel / Booking

81

Al Tayyar

Rank Change: N/C
Score: 462
Industry: Travel / Booking

81

Choithrams

40

Retail / Grocery

82

Choithrams

Rank Change: -40
Score: 459
Industry: Retail / Grocery

82

Puma

20

Fitness

83

Puma

Rank Change: -20
Score: 456
Industry: Fitness

Also view in:

83

Debenhams

13

Retail / General

84

Debenhams

Rank Change: +13
Score: 455
Industry: Retail / General

Also view in:

84

Holiday Inn

19

Travel / Hotels

85

Holiday Inn

Rank Change: +19
Score: 454
Industry: Travel / Hotels

Also view in:

85

Mercedes-Benz

18

Automotive

86

Mercedes-Benz

Rank Change: -18
Score: 453
Industry: Automotive

Also view in:

86

Audi

35

Automotive

87

Audi

Rank Change: +35
Score: 451
Industry: Automotive

Also view in:

87

Etihad Airways

12

Travel / Air

88

Etihad Airways

Rank Change: -12
Score: 451
Industry: Travel / Air

88

Spinney’s

56

Retail / Grocery

89

Spinney’s

Rank Change: -56
Score: 449
Industry: Retail / Grocery

89

iTunes

2

Internet retail

90

iTunes

Rank Change: +2
Score: 447
Industry: Internet retail

Also view in:

90

Reebok

22

Fitness

91

Reebok

Rank Change: -22
Score: 446
Industry: Fitness

Also view in:

91

Orbit Showtime Network

16

Media

92

Orbit Showtime Network

Rank Change: +16
Score: 444
Industry: Media

92

Saudi TV

3

Media

93

Saudi TV

Rank Change: +3
Score: 440
Industry: Media

93

Gulf Air

5

Travel / Air

94

Gulf Air

Rank Change: -5
Score: 439
Industry: Travel / Air

94

Dnata

57

Travel / Booking

95

Dnata

Rank Change: -57
Score: 436
Industry: Travel / Booking

95

HSBC

6

Banks / Retail

96

HSBC

Rank Change: +6
Score: 436
Industry: Banks / Retail

Also view in:

96

Chili’s

48

Restaurants

97

Chili’s

Rank Change: -48
Score: 436
Industry: Restaurants

97

MANGO

23

Retail / Fashion

98

MANGO

Rank Change: -23
Score: 430
Industry: Retail / Fashion

98

Marriott

16

Travel / Hotels

99

Marriott

Rank Change: -16
Score: 426
Industry: Travel / Hotels

Also view in:

99

Budget

13

Travel / Car rental

100

Budget

Rank Change: -13
Score: 415
Industry: Travel / Car rental

Also view in:

100

Diesel

8

Retail / Fashion

101

Diesel

Rank Change: +8
Score: 411
Industry: Retail / Fashion

101

 

Mashreq Bank

 

Banks / Retail

102

Mashreq Bank

Rank Change: N/A
Score: 409
Industry: Banks / Retail

102

Hertz

10

Travel / Car rental

103

Hertz

Rank Change: +10
Score: 406
Industry: Travel / Car rental

Also view in:

103

LinkedIn

13

Social media

104

LinkedIn

Rank Change: -13
Score: 399
Industry: Social media

Also view in:

104

STC

49

Telecom / Cell phone

105

STC

Rank Change: -49
Score: 396
Industry: Telecom / Cell phone

105

Jumeirah

8

Travel / Hotels

106

Jumeirah

Rank Change: +8
Score: 396
Industry: Travel / Hotels

106

Medgulf

3

General insurance

107

Medgulf

Rank Change: +3
Score: 394
Industry: General insurance

107

Bank Albilad

58

Banks / Retail

108

Bank Albilad

Rank Change: -58
Score: 387
Industry: Banks / Retail

108

Daman

12

Health insurance

109

Daman

Rank Change: +12
Score: 386
Industry: Health insurance

109

Al Rajhi Bank

25

Banks / Retail

110

Al Rajhi Bank

Rank Change: -25
Score: 383
Industry: Banks / Retail

110

BMW

4

Automotive

111

BMW

Rank Change: +4
Score: 379
Industry: Automotive

Also view in:

111

Siemens

26

Electronics

112

Siemens

Rank Change: -26
Score: 378
Industry: Electronics

Also view in:

112

AXA

10

General insurance

113

AXA

Rank Change: +10
Score: 362
Industry: General insurance

Also view in:

113

 

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

 

Banks / Retail

114

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

Rank Change: N/A
Score: 357
Industry: Banks / Retail

114

Saudi Post

44

Shipping / Mail

115

Saudi Post

Rank Change: -44
Score: 356
Industry: Shipping / Mail

115

Emirates Islamic Bank

26

Banks / Retail

116

Emirates Islamic Bank

Rank Change: -26
Score: 356
Industry: Banks / Retail

116

Boots

12

Retail / Health and beauty

117

Boots

Rank Change: -12
Score: 348
Industry: Retail / Health and beauty

With more than 150 years of history in the U.K., pharmacy chain Boots launched in the Middle East relatively recently in 2006. Despite its popularity with consumers back home, Boots appears to struggle to evoke simplicity in the Middle East. Given survey responses, it appears regional awareness may be a prime issue.

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117

Amazon

57

Internet retail

118

Amazon

Rank Change: -57
Score: 337
Industry: Internet retail

Though viewed in many other regions as an icon of simplicity, it’s the paradox of choice that makes the online retailer seem complex to shopper in the Middle East—that, and the fact that it doesn’t deliver to all countries in the region. “Shopping and shipping seems very complex,” remarks one respondent.

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118

Tawuniya

19

General insurance

119

Tawuniya

Rank Change: -19
Score: 328
Industry: General insurance

It seems that no matter the region, brands in the insurance industry always finds themselves in the bottom of each list. Tawuniya’s customer service—a potentially redeeming quality in an industry rife with inherent complexity—was highlighted as poor with one respondent even went as far as to call the company “thieves.”

119

Oman Insurance Company

2

General insurance

120

Oman Insurance Company

Rank Change: -2
Score: 314
Industry: General insurance

Complicated and jargon-filled communications appear to plague this insurance company—when consumers can find information on the brand. The brand, which has been around since 1975, has several global partners, but it’s evident that awareness is an issue.

120

Avis

2

Travel / Car rental

121

Avis

Rank Change: -2
Score: 310
Industry: Travel / Car rental

Our survey respondents identified this car rental company as complex for its lack of advertising and difficult procedures. Avis also losses points for having an English-only website, perhaps unwittingly alienating customers who would otherwise like to patronize the service.

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121

Bupa

15

Health insurance

122

Bupa

Rank Change: -15
Score: 305
Industry: Health insurance

The Middle East isn’t the only region where Bupa is perceived as complex. This health insurance provider flops in many ways: complicated systems and protracted timelines for claim approvals. To top it off, respondents sense apathy from Bupa employees, citing customer service doesn’t take into account the client’s situation.

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122

 

National Bank of Abu Dhabi

 

Banks / Retail

123

National Bank of Abu Dhabi

Rank Change: N/A
Score: 305
Industry: Banks / Retail

Financial institutions are frequently found in the Bottom 10 brands in many regions, and The National Bank of Abu Dhabi finds itself here for complaints about hidden charges and lack of transparency. Another respondent mentioned its many advertisements as a reason for finding the bank complex.

123

Topshop

60

Retail / Fashion

124

Topshop

Rank Change: -60
Score: 301
Industry: Retail / Fashion

Clothing retailer Topshop lands in the Middle East Simplicity Index Bottom 10 this year, with respondents somehow both bemoaning the store’s limited selection while others claim there’s too much to choose from. Either way, it’s not a positive impression. “[I] never get what they’re about,” reports a puzzled respondent, illustrating how unclear the company’s branding is.

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124

Citibank

24

Banks / Retail

125

Citibank

Rank Change: -24
Score: 238
Industry: Banks / Retail

Global financial services brand Citibank receives complaints about perceived hidden charges and customer service representatives that allegedly hang up the phone before giving an answer. One respondent even called dealing with the bank “torture.”

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125

Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (ADNIC)

6

General insurance

126

Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (ADNIC)

Rank Change: -6
Score: 147
Industry: General insurance

“Insurance products are almost always complicated to explain,” notes one respondent about this company, indicating to why so many brands in the sector end up in the Bottom 10. Some respondents felt that ADNIC’s terms and conditions were not disclosed honestly and noted a lack of advertising. It’s hard to be simple if you’re not familiar.

INDUSTRY RANKINGS

MONEY TO BE MADE

All brands can benefit from simplifying, but not all may benefit equally. To understand which brands in the Middle East can reap the greatest financial reward, and what they need to do to command more for their services, download the full report.