Saudi consumers in digital marketing and social media (Research Proposal)

Title of dissertation

How Saudi consumers’s react to digital marketing and promotion on social media.

Information gathered to research topic

This research will try to identify e-marketing in Saudi Arabia because in recent times it has become highly important to understand the issues behind the gap between companies and consumers in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has more internet users than other Arab countries. The great potential for the growth of e-commerce in Saudi Arabia comes from the influx of expatriates who work there. The government has committed money for the development of new ICT hubs around the country; however, there is still a big gap between companies and consumers because of different issues. For example, security information, the infrastructure of e-commerce and financial transactions on the internet.

Moreover, businesses have embraced social media as a platform through which to position their businesses on the national and international map. According to Dailey (2009), social media refers to online accessible and communication tools. He further adds that these communication tools are changing the way business is done. Social media has enabled businesses to cut down their costs on product launches and re-launching, helped in taking surveys on consumer and product trends, and helped in branding. According to Dailey (2009), the development of Web 2.0 in 1995 revolutionised social media with adds on like blogs.

Literature Review

According to Abdul-Muhmin & AL-Abdali (2004), the e-commerce users in Saudi have been increasing due to the growing literacy levels and investment in ICT frameworks. Another reason for the rapid use of e-commerce in Saudi Arabia is the use of credit cards. Almost every sector of Saudi Arabia has been transformed through internet support. Another reason for the rapid embrace of e-commerce is change in attitude of consumers‟. The elite and high income earning class has pushed the demand for ICT in Saudi Arabia. Most of the businesses in Saudi are embracing e-commerce as one of the ways to promote customer loyalty.

According to Dailey (2009), cultural diversity affects the way Saudi customers maintain their loyalty to the online businesses. Preferred to other countries, the shoppers would buy from businesses that tended to their wants easily and quickly. However, no reliable research, on reasons that affect Saudis‟ loyalty as online customers. The conservative Saudis‟ consumers embraced internet for the security it offered them. Customer satisfaction is paramount to maintain online customers who will repeatedly visit a business website. The online shopping enabled the Saudis‟ to keep privacy over their funds (Mustafa 2011).

In Saudi Arabia, the use of social media is justified. According to Cheung et al (2003), though there are few institutions creating reliable software to support the growing ICT sector, the gap has been filled with acquisition of the programs from abroad. According to Al-Gaith, Sanzogni & Sandhu (2010), the use of e-commerce in Saudi Arabia has however been affected by various forces. According to research carried out by Al-Maghrabi (2009), which he focused on the adoption e-commerce in Saudi Arabia, he noted that the use was greatly overlooked by women when it came to the implementation in business. Men however, showed concern over implementation of ICT in their businesses. Another factor that affected adoptability of e-commerce in Saudi Arabia is income distribution. According to Hasslinger, Hodzic & Opazo (2007), the trends changes in Saudi Arabia when it comes to adopting new technology. Moreover, research carried out by Cheung et al (2003), asserts that the level of security of transactions offered by websites affects the attitude of Saudi Arabia shoppers.

Research question/objective/hypothesis

The main research objective is to define and evaluate the challenges facing companies in using digital marketing and social media and understanding the online consumer behaviour in Saudi Arabia. To achieve that end, the following questions will be answered throughout the research: Consumers: – How many Saudis use the internet? Which tools do they use? What do they use internet for? Are there any differences in the answers to these questions according to demography? – How does the Saudi cultural context impact on digital marketing and social media response? – What are the drivers and barriers of digital marketing and the social media response in Saudi Arabia?

Businesses: – What are companies‟ perspectives on digital marketing and social media in Saudi Arabia? – Which companies have good experience in digital marketing? What kinds of strategy do they use to succeed? – Which companies prefer not to get involved in digital marketing and why? – What challenges do companies face when they use digital marketing? – What strategies can be used for successful digital marketing in Saudi Arabia?

Research method/s and proposed rationale for testing and analysis

The dissertation main objective is to define and evaluate the challenges facing companies using digital marketing and social media and understanding the online consumer behaviour in Saudi Arabia. The best way to achieve this is to use secondary research and a primary research together.

Secondary research: This involves understanding previous studies and theories on consumer behaviour, digital marketing and social media, and what has previously been written in this area.

Primary research: The segment for this research into online consumers‟ behaviour in Saudi Arabia is clearly people who using the internet in Saudi. The best method to achieve this is to use a survey. In addition, employees responsible for marketing in different kinds of companies in Saudi Arabia will be interviewed. From what has been written above, this data will be helpful in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of digital marketing and social media in Saudi Arabia.

Practical and ethical issues

  • Some companies may not wish to take part in this research.
  • There will be difficulty obtaining the marketing plans of companies.
  • Some people may not want to fill in the questionnaire.

Plan or timetable

  • Proposal: 1 Month
  • Data Collection: 2 Months
  • Interviews: 2 Months
  • Data analyzing: 1 Month
  • Writing of Research Dissertation Paper: 2 Months


Abdul-Muhmin, A G & Al-Abdali, O S 2004, Adoption of Online Purchase by Consumers in Saudi Arabia: An Exploratory Study, Management and Marketing Department, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.

Al-Gaith, W, Sanzogni, L & Sandhu, K 2010, “Factors Influencing the Adoption and Usage of Online Services in Saudi Arabia,” EJISDC, vol. 40, 1, pp. 1-32.

Al-Maghrabi, T & Dennis, C 2009, The Factors Driving online Shopping in Saudi Arabia: Gender Differences and Behavior, Brunel Business School, Brunel University.

Cheung, al., 2003, Online Consumer Behavior: A Review and Agenda for Future Research, Information Systems Department, City University of Hong Kong.

Dailey, P R, 2009, Social Media: Finding its way into Your Business Strategy and Culture, Linkage. Available from: [21 March 2012].

Hasslinger, A, Hodzic, S & Opazo, C 2007, Consumer Behavior in Online Shopping, Department of Business Studies, Kristianstad University.

Mustafa, I 2011, “Determinants of E-Commerce Customer Satisfaction, Trust, and Loyalty in Saudi Arabia,” Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, vol. 12, 1, pp. 78-89.

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