A recent American Express (Amex) survey – titled American Express Middle East Spending Survey conducted in conjunction with market research firm YouGov across the MENA region – indicates that 65% of Lebanese prioritise spending on luxury experiences, which is above the regional average of 59%.
In Lebanon, a majority chooses to spend their money on holidays, with 54% ranking holidays their number one luxury spending priority. This is well above the regional average of 43% and contrasts with the picture of the region as a whole, where social events such as sporting activities tend to attract the most spending.
When it comes to other experiences, Lebanese rank spending on club memberships as their second-most important spending category, with 50% ranking this as important to them. According to the survey, nearly two-thirds of luxury spenders in the MENA region are now choosing to spend more of their money on enriching experiences than goods.
Commenting on the results, says: “Over recent years, we’ve seen a major shift in the way people spend and make luxury. Increasingly, they are focusing on buying experiences, and the memories that go with them. Our survey shows the Lebanese are very focused on holidays, choosing to relax and enjoy time away from their day-to-day lives,” says Mazin Khoury, CEO of Amex Middle East.
Despite the focus on experiences, respondents in Lebanon are continuing to spend on luxury goods. Luxury food ranks as the top category of expenditure with 27% of people choosing it as their number one focus, followed by high-end electronics (23%) and designer wear and fashion (21%) making up the second- and third-preferred category of expenditure.
“Our survey shows that increasingly Lebanese luxury spending is set to enable them to explore their passions and maintain their personal wellbeing through experiential luxury. Overall, luxury spending on both goods and services is set to remain strong during the remainder of 2014 and 2015, and this supports the trends we’ve seen in the first half of 2014, which shows a significant increase in card-member spending,” adds Khoury.