A number of experts from various fields, including human behavior and economics, have warned shopaholics in the Kingdom against splurging on unnecessary items during occasions like Ramadan, stating that the money thus spent is a national waste.
Calling for increased consumer awareness, these experts warned people against falling prey to fake promotions or marketing gimmicks resorted to by business establishments. Very often, consumers get lured by promotional campaigns launched during certain seasons and end up buying things they don’t really need.
Usama Uturji, a human behavior expert, said that sales promotions announced by many shops trigger a sense of consumerism among shoppers and make them buy goods they do not really need. “I believe these sales promotions are launched after a careful study of consumer behavior, and I believe seasonal sales events play a role in this,” he said. “It seems to me that this shopping spree is what gives people the feeling that prices are on the rise. Consumers should be made aware that their behavior is the subject of study and scrutiny by marketing experts, from details like consumers’ reaction to the way goods are displayed during the promotional season,” he said.
Salim Ba Ajajah, economist and professor of accounting at Taif University, said that many stores announce huge sales during specific periods, offering discounts of up to 50 percent of the original prices of goods. “This usually happens at the end of winter or summer or during important occasions like Ramadan and the two Eids in order to attract as many customers as possible,” he said.
“Such promotional campaigns entice consumers to go on shopping sprees. They end up with things they do not need. In some cases, the items they buy remain untouched for long periods of time, and very often, they cross the expiry date.
This has an adverse effect on the people’s budgets, many of whom can ill-afford this kind of behavior,” he said.
Muhammad Al-Musallam, president of Al-Misk Economic Consultancy, said that some special offers are fake, particularly those promoted during Ramadan. There are some promotions that are reserved for a certain class of clientele, like those who have store cards.
“It’s a bad cycle. When consumers buy too much, prices go up as a result of higher demand. This is a waste of national wealth. There should be consumer education and shoppers should be made aware of the pitfalls of such promotional and marketing campaigns. First and foremost, consumers should not stock more than what they really need,” he said.