DUBAI: Luxury sales are set to rise throughout much of the Middle East this year, offering opportunities for the sector as conditions become more challenging in other parts of the world.

American Express, the financial services group, polled 1,000 adults in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and the UAE to assess their intentions in this sector.

It found that respondents in all countries except the UAE expected to boost their outlay on high-end lines, a trend driven by rising affluence, greater brand awareness and a desire for quality products.

Dubai was regarded as the preferred shopping destination for 65% of those surveyed, hitting 81% in the UAE, compared with 81% in Oman, alongside 78% in Bahrain and 67% in Qatar.

Category consumers in Qatar logged the largest monthly expenditure on luxury offerings at $5,000 per month, declining to $250 in both Oman and Jordan.

"Consumer attitudes towards spending have begun to improve significantly and there is a noticeable rise in spending on luxury goods and experiences across the region," said Mazin Khoury, chief executive officer of American Express Middle East.

"Quality is by far the biggest driver of luxury purchases among consumers, though the brand name also remains a key deciding factor. Those surveyed said that the brand name was key in determining spend, in addition to sales, price reductions and advertising."

The UAE was the only exception to this rule, as word of mouth recommendations from friends carried the greatest weight among contributors in this market.

Fashion topped the list of desired purchases for this year, mentioned by 37% of interviewees, ahead of cars on 31%. Electronics and personal accessories also proved popular.

Data sourced American Express; additional content by Warc staff