Introducing digital behaviour and the Iraqi consumer

In this blogpost we’d like to highlight some insights on digital behaviour and the Iraqi consumer, as taken from our whitepaper on the findings from our Iraq Consumer Survey 2020 survey.

What were the highlights from the survey?

The survey told us that half of Iraqi internet users spend more than 5 hours a day online, and perhaps unsurprisingly this figure is higher for younger Iraqis, like Rezhna and Walid – who you met in our earlier blog post. Nearly two thirds of Iraqis go online just before bed, and just over a third ‘first thing in the morning’.

Regardless of age, their device of choice is resoundingly smartphones, with 82% using their smartphone to connect online.

And interestingly, a quarter of Iraqi internet users own 2 or more smartphones.

What do Iraqis think about the internet?

Differing to attitudes in the West or in Arab Gulf countries, the internet isn’t regarded by Iraqis as a way to save money. This probably relates to the fact that the internet is expensive in Iraq compared to other parts of the world, together with the challenges of online shopping for a country where very few people have bank accounts.

This high internet cost, combined with the fact that the Kurdistan Region is relatively more stable and has a more developed infrastructure than southern regions, could also help explain the significant regional differences in how Iraqis connect. Kurds usually access the internet via home landline, like Rezhna, or mobile Wi-Fi known as ‘Mi-Fi’. Whereas people in central and southern Iraq are much more likely to use public Wi-Fi, like Walid.

Nevertheless, the internet is highly regarded in other respects:

    • Three quarters of respondents think the internet helps them stay connected to friends and family. Vitally important when family is often the primary social safety net. And two thirds of Iraqi internet users agree the quality of human contact has improved thanks to technology.
    • Nearly all Iraqi internet users say the internet is the first place they search for information.
    • Just over half say the internet helps them make decisions.

And where are Iraqi internet users going to find this information to help them make purchasing decisions? Overwhelmingly, Facebook.

In fact, in Iraq when people refer to Facebook, what they often actually mean is the internet itself.

In recent years younger Iraqis are also going elsewhere to gather information though, and Instagram is now almost as popular amongst 18-24-year-old females (like Rezhna) as Facebook.

 

Where can you find out more?

To find out more about the Iraqi consumer – including their attitudes to e-commerce and about financial inclusion – read our whitepaper in full. It outlines all the detailed findings from our Iraq Consumer Survey 2020. And it’s a fascinating and visually beautiful read.

 

Caroline McGarrIntroducing digital behaviour and the Iraqi consumer
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Introducing Iraqi consumers Rezhna and Walid

In March we ran the first-ever Iraq Consumer Survey 2020. You can find out more about how we ran the survey here.

One of the most interesting parts of the process was speaking to young Iraqis such as Rezhna and Walid – learning about their attitudes towards being online, finance and shopping. Iraq has one of the fastest growing young populations in the Middle East, with an estimated 57% of people under 25.

Rezhna and Walid’s profiles bring to life some of the information illuminated by the survey data in the main whitepaper, and puts younger Iraqis in the spotlight – so we’d like to introduce you to them here in this blog post.

Rezhna

Rezhna lives in Sulaymaniyah in northern Kurdistan. As a young Iraqi female, she’s helping lead the charge with online shopping and increasing the popularity of Instagram in particular. She’s not very financially curious, relying primarily on cash payments. 

Walid

Walid is Baghdadi, older than Rezhna by a decade and with additional financial and family responsibilities. Accordingly, he’s curious to know more about banks and their facilities, in case they could be useful. But he’s also fairly wary of them. It’s a bit harder for him to get online, but he still manages it fine and likes to seek out good deals through the internet – especially for electronics.

To find out more about Rezhna and Walid, together with additional insights about young Iraqi consumers such as them – read thinkbank’s full whitepaper here.

Caroline McGarrIntroducing Iraqi consumers Rezhna and Walid
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