Middle 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

 

WhatsApp

 

Social media

WhatsApp

Rank Change: N/A
Industry: Social media

2

 

YouTube

 

Social media

YouTube

Rank Change: N/C
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.

3

Google

2

Internet search

Google

Rank Change: -2
Industry: Internet search

4

 

Samsung

 

Electronics

Samsung

Rank Change: N/C
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.

5

Facebook

24

Social media

Facebook

Rank Change: +24
Industry: Social media

6

Dubai Metro

26

Travel / Train

Dubai Metro

Rank Change: +26
Industry: Travel / Train

7

Lenovo

6

Electronics

Lenovo

Rank Change: +6
Industry: Electronics

Also view in:

China Global

8

Microsoft

11

Electronics

Microsoft

Rank Change: +11
Industry: Electronics

9

Al Baik

6

Restaurants

Al Baik

Rank Change: -6
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.

10

Home Centre

53

Retail / General

Home Centre

Rank Change: +53
Industry: Retail / General

11

Carrefour

1

Retail / Grocery

Carrefour

Rank Change: -1
Industry: Retail / Grocery

Also view in:

China Global

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.

12

Emirates

11

Travel / Air

Emirates

Rank Change: +11
Industry: Travel / Air

13

Dell

13

Electronics

Dell

Rank Change: +13
Industry: Electronics

14

 

Instagram

 

Social media

Instagram

Rank Change: N/A
Industry: Social media

15

LG

4

Electronics

LG

Rank Change: -4
Industry: Electronics

16

Saudia

42

Travel / Air

Saudia

Rank Change: +42
Industry: Travel / Air

17

Sony

10

Electronics

Sony

Rank Change: -10
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.

18

McDonald’s

3

Restaurants

McDonald’s

Rank Change: +3
Industry: Restaurants

19

Pizza Hut

1

Restaurants

Pizza Hut

Rank Change: +1
Industry: Restaurants

20

HP

3

Electronics

HP

Rank Change: -3
Industry: Electronics

21

KFC

21

Restaurants

KFC

Rank Change: +21
Industry: Restaurants

22

Toyota

14

Automotive

Toyota

Rank Change: -14
Industry: Automotive

23

Toshiba

18

Electronics

Toshiba

Rank Change: -18
Industry: Electronics

Also view in:

Global Japan

24

Apple

4

Electronics

Apple

Rank Change: +4
Industry: Electronics

25

IKEA

9

Retail / General

IKEA

Rank Change: -9
Industry: Retail / General

26

ADNOC

36

Utilities

ADNOC

Rank Change: +36
Industry: Utilities

27

Mobily

32

Telecom / Cell phone

Mobily

Rank Change: +32
Industry: Telecom / Cell phone

28

Twitter

1

Social media

Twitter

Rank Change: -1
Industry: Social media

29

Sharaf DG

19

Retail / General

Sharaf DG

Rank Change: +19
Industry: Retail / General

30

Skype

15

Telecom / Cell phone

Skype

Rank Change: +15
Industry: Telecom / Cell phone

31

HTC

19

Electronics

HTC

Rank Change: -19
Industry: Electronics

Also view in:

China Global

32

Souq.com

2

Internet retail

Souq.com

Rank Change: +2
Industry: Internet retail

33

Gulf News

28

Media

Gulf News

Rank Change: +28
Industry: Media

34

Dubai TV

22

Media

Dubai TV

Rank Change: +22
Industry: Media

35

Zain

10

Telecom / Cell phone

Zain

Rank Change: -10
Industry: Telecom / Cell phone

36

FlyDubai

22

Travel / Air

FlyDubai

Rank Change: -22
Industry: Travel / Air

37

Asharq Al-Awsat

1

Media

Asharq Al-Awsat

Rank Change: +1
Industry: Media

38

Etihad Airways

49

Travel / Air

Etihad Airways

Rank Change: +49
Industry: Travel / Air

39

Philips

17

Electronics

Philips

Rank Change: -17
Industry: Electronics

40

 

Splash

 

Retail / Fashion

Splash

Rank Change: N/A
Industry: Retail / Fashion

41

Nike

8

Fitness

Nike

Rank Change: +8
Industry: Fitness

42

Nissan

6

Automotive

Nissan

Rank Change: -6
Industry: Automotive

Also view in:

Global Japan

43

Adidas

3

Fitness

Adidas

Rank Change: -3
Industry: Fitness

44

Yahoo!

35

Internet search

Yahoo!

Rank Change: -35
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.

45

Alriyadh

12

Media

Alriyadh

Rank Change: -12
Industry: Media

46

Sheraton

31

Travel / Hotels

Sheraton

Rank Change: +31
Industry: Travel / Hotels

47

H&M

20

Retail / Fashion

H&M

Rank Change: +20
Industry: Retail / Fashion

48

 

Cheesecake Factory

 

Restaurants

Cheesecake Factory

Rank Change: N/A
Industry: Restaurants

49

Al Arabiya

26

Media

Al Arabiya

Rank Change: +26
Industry: Media

50

eXtra

15

Retail / General

eXtra

Rank Change: -15
Industry: Retail / General

51

Saudi Railways

15

Travel / Train

Saudi Railways

Rank Change: +15
Industry: Travel / Train

52

Panda

46

Retail / Grocery

Panda

Rank Change: -46
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.

53

Alinma Bank

38

Banks / Retail

Alinma Bank

Rank Change: -38
Industry: Banks / Retail

54

Spinneys

34

Retail / Grocery

Spinneys

Rank Change: +34
Industry: Retail / Grocery

55

Chili’s

41

Restaurants

Chili’s

Rank Change: +41
Industry: Restaurants

56

Aramex

16

Shipping / Mail

Aramex

Rank Change: +16
Industry: Shipping / Mail

57

Starbucks

7

Restaurants

Starbucks

Rank Change: -7
Industry: Restaurants

58

Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (ADNIC)

67

General insurance

Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (ADNIC)

Rank Change: +67
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.

59

Boots

57

Retail / Health and beauty

Boots

Rank Change: +57
Industry: Retail / Health and beauty

Also view in:

Global United Kingdom

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.

60

The Body Shop

6

Retail / Health and beauty

The Body Shop

Rank Change: -6
Industry: Retail / Health and beauty

61

Al Jazeera

43

Media

Al Jazeera

Rank Change: -43
Industry: Media

62

Rotana

8

Travel / Hotels

Rotana

Rank Change: +8
Industry: Travel / Hotels

63

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

50

Banks / Retail

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

Rank Change: +50
Industry: Banks / Retail

64

NCB

9

Banks / Retail

NCB

Rank Change: -9
Industry: Banks / Retail

65

Amazon

52

Internet retail

Amazon

Rank Change: +52
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.

66

SACO

42

Retail / General

SACO

Rank Change: -42
Industry: Retail / General

67

Arab News

30

Media

Arab News

Rank Change: -30
Industry: Media

68

Namshi.com

22

Internet retail

Namshi.com

Rank Change: -22
Industry: Internet retail

69

Debenhams

14

Retail / General

Debenhams

Rank Change: +14
Industry: Retail / General

70

FedEx

10

Shipping / Mail

FedEx

Rank Change: -10
Industry: Shipping / Mail

71

 

du

 

Telecom / Cell phone

du

Rank Change: N/C
Industry: Telecom / Cell phone

72

DHL

20

Shipping / Mail

DHL

Rank Change: -20
Industry: Shipping / Mail

73

Faces

6

Retail / Health and beauty

Faces

Rank Change: +6
Industry: Retail / Health and beauty

74

Topshop

49

Retail / Fashion

Topshop

Rank Change: +49
Industry: Retail / Fashion

Also view in:

Global United Kingdom

75

dr. CAFÉ

44

Restaurants

dr. CAFÉ

Rank Change: -44
Industry: Restaurants

76

ENOC

33

Utilities

ENOC

Rank Change: -33
Industry: Utilities

77

Sephora

1

Retail / Health and beauty

Sephora

Rank Change: -1
Industry: Retail / Health and beauty

Also view in:

China Global United States

78

Gulf Air

15

Travel / Air

Gulf Air

Rank Change: +15
Industry: Travel / Air

79

Emirates NBD

10

Banks / Retail

Emirates NBD

Rank Change: -10
Industry: Banks / Retail

80

Qatar Airways

16

Travel / Air

Qatar Airways

Rank Change: -16
Industry: Travel / Air

81

Audi

5

Automotive

Audi

Rank Change: +5
Industry: Automotive

82

Marriott

16

Travel / Hotels

Marriott

Rank Change: +16
Industry: Travel / Hotels

83

ZARA

18

Retail / Fashion

ZARA

Rank Change: -18
Industry: Retail / Fashion

84

SABB

40

Banks / Retail

SABB

Rank Change: -40
Industry: Banks / Retail

85

 

Uber

 

Travel / Car rental

Uber

Rank Change: N/A
Industry: Travel / Car rental

86

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

29

Banks / Retail

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

Rank Change: -29
Industry: Banks / Retail

87

Dnata

7

Travel / Booking

Dnata

Rank Change: +7
Industry: Travel / Booking

88

Choitrams

7

Retail / Grocery

Choitrams

Rank Change: -7
Industry: Retail / Grocery

89

National Bank of Abu Dhabi

33

Banks / Retail

National Bank of Abu Dhabi

Rank Change: +33
Industry: Banks / Retail

90

MANGO

7

Retail / Fashion

MANGO

Rank Change: +7
Industry: Retail / Fashion

91

 

Careem

 

Travel / Car rental

Careem

Rank Change: N/A
Industry: Travel / Car rental

92

Al Tayyar

12

Travel / Booking

Al Tayyar

Rank Change: -12
Industry: Travel / Booking

93

Daman

15

Health insurance

Daman

Rank Change: +15
Industry: Health insurance

94

Holiday Inn

10

Travel / Hotels

Holiday Inn

Rank Change: -10
Industry: Travel / Hotels

95

iTunes

6

Internet retail

iTunes

Rank Change: -6
Industry: Internet retail

96

Reebok

6

Fitness

Reebok

Rank Change: -6
Industry: Fitness

97

BMW

13

Automotive

BMW

Rank Change: +13
Industry: Automotive

98

 

Shake Shack

 

Restaurants

Shake Shack

Rank Change: N/A
Industry: Restaurants

99

Siemens

12

Electronics

Siemens

Rank Change: +12
Industry: Electronics

Also view in:

Germany Global Sweden

100

Puma

18

Fitness

Puma

Rank Change: -18
Industry: Fitness

101

Citibank

23

Banks / Retail

Citibank

Rank Change: +23
Industry: Banks / Retail

Also view in:

Global United States

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.”

102

Jumeirah

3

Travel / Hotels

Jumeirah

Rank Change: +3
Industry: Travel / Hotels

103

 

Virgin Stores

 

Retail / General

Virgin Stores

Rank Change: N/A
Industry: Retail / General

104

UPS

30

Shipping / Mail

UPS

Rank Change: -30
Industry: Shipping / Mail

105

The Saudi Investment Bank

75

Banks / Retail

The Saudi Investment Bank

Rank Change: -75
Industry: Banks / Retail

106

Al Rajhi Bank

3

Banks / Retail

Al Rajhi Bank

Rank Change: +3
Industry: Banks / Retail

107

Marks & Spencer

29

Retail / General

Marks & Spencer

Rank Change: -29
Industry: Retail / General

Also view in:

Global United Kingdom

108

STC

4

Telecom / Cell phone

STC

Rank Change: -4
Industry: Telecom / Cell phone

109

The National

62

Media

The National

Rank Change: -62
Industry: Media

110

LinkedIn

7

Social media

LinkedIn

Rank Change: -7
Industry: Social media

111

Orbit Showtime Network

20

Telecom / Cable

Orbit Showtime Network

Rank Change: -20
Industry: Telecom / Cable

112

Mercedes-Benz

27

Automotive

Mercedes-Benz

Rank Change: -27
Industry: Automotive

113

Paris Gallery

40

Retail / Health and beauty

Paris Gallery

Rank Change: -40
Industry: Retail / Health and beauty

114

Emirates Islamic Bank

1

Banks / Retail

Emirates Islamic Bank

Rank Change: +1
Industry: Banks / Retail

115

Bupa

6

Health insurance

Bupa

Rank Change: +6
Industry: Health insurance

Also view in:

Global United Kingdom

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.

116

 

Under Armour

 

Fitness

Under Armour

Rank Change: N/A
Industry: Fitness

Also view in:

Global United States

117

Oman Insurance Company

2

General insurance

Oman Insurance Company

Rank Change: +2
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.

118

GMC

50

Automotive

GMC

Rank Change: -50
Industry: Automotive

119

Etisalat

66

Telecom / Cell phone

Etisalat

Rank Change: -66
Industry: Telecom / Cell phone

120

Saudi TV

28

Media

Saudi TV

Rank Change: -28
Industry: Media

121

Bank Albilad

14

Banks / Retail

Bank Albilad

Rank Change: -14
Industry: Banks / Retail

122

 

Commercial Bank of Dubai

 

Banks / Retail

Commercial Bank of Dubai

Rank Change: N/A
Industry: Banks / Retail

123

Mashreq Bank

22

Banks / Retail

Mashreq Bank

Rank Change: -22
Industry: Banks / Retail

124

 

New Balance

 

Fitness

New Balance

Rank Change: N/A
Industry: Fitness

125

HSBC

30

Banks / Retail

HSBC

Rank Change: -30
Industry: Banks / Retail

Also view in:

Global India United Kingdom

126

Saudi Post

12

Shipping / Mail

Saudi Post

Rank Change: -12
Industry: Shipping / Mail

127

Medgulf

21

General insurance

Medgulf

Rank Change: -21
Industry: General insurance

128

Tawuniya

10

General insurance

Tawuniya

Rank Change: -10
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.”

129

AXA

17

General insurance

AXA

Rank Change: -17
Industry: General insurance

Also view in:

Germany Global Japan

130

Hertz

28

Travel / Car rental

Hertz

Rank Change: -28
Industry: Travel / Car rental

131

Budget

32

Travel / Car rental

Budget

Rank Change: -32
Industry: Travel / Car rental

Also view in:

Global Sweden United States

132

Avis

12

Travel / Car rental

Avis

Rank Change: -12
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.

Industry Rankings

Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
950 31%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
844 19%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
814 47%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
730 33%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
729 32%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
709 27%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
700 24%

8

Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
660 18%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
646 36%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
628 34%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
580 23%

12

Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
577 27%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
560 32%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
547 31%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
535 27%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
528 19%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
493 22%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
479 21%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
470 15%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
470 19%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
451 24%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
441 39%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
425 20%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
391 13%
Industry Simplicity Score Simplicity Premium
240 20%

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.