The effects of Culture on Consumer Behavior

Culture And Consumer Behavior In UAE And China


This study compares the culture of the United Arab Emirates and other culture relating to their social value, language and dialectics, religion, entertainment, food, arts, clothing and apparel sports and recreational activities, socialization groups, work ethics, attitudes towards vices and time.

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Culture is one of the most essential personality in a certain organization, thus culture is defined as the total hereditary thoughts, beliefs, values, institution,  knowledge and all products created of human idea and work. Culture is learned and shared within the society and reinforced and transmitted by the members of the group. This pattern of traits, products, is considered in a particular period, community and class. It is also considered in particular category such as subject, mode of expression and it is an approach and behavior that shows the characteristic of a certain organization. The objective of this study is to compare United Arab Emirates culture to other cultures and to determine the consumer point of view and how to use the marketing point of view with the consumer point of view. Consumer behavior combines aspects from sociology, economics, social anthropology, and psychology. It identifies the characteristics of personal consumers like behavioral variables and demographics in a trial to identify with people’s needs and wants. (Triandis, 2004).

Comparison of Cultures between UAE and other culture

Language and dialects- United Arab Emirates is a multicultural society, Arabic is the native language. Some people and other Middle Eastern countries, speaks English, as a reason of multinational workforce in the UAE. English is the language of commerce, it is widely used and it is viewed as the second largest language next to Arabic.  While in China the official language is Chinese. All varieties of Chinese belong to the Sino-Tibetan family of languages and each one has its own dialects and sub-dialects, which are more or less mutually intelligible.

(Atkins & Hills, 2012).

Social values

The United Arab Emirates social values are essential like concern for future generations, family and respect. They considered it as the major values, for they are based on the shared goal of all people working on this land to have a better life. In other culture like the country of China, Citizens are divided into four main social classes thus: the verdict sheikhly families, the members in this class hold the highest opinionated power and positions and have enormous prestige and wealth. The second is al-tujjar the merchant class.  The third class is signified by growing numbers of qualified who have benefits from free education, and the fourth one is made up with the low-income groups, characterized by newly settled Bedouin nomads, oasis farmers and former pearl divers (Reisinger, 2009). Chinese social fengjian structure is divided into four thus; the shi is the first one, the nong the second one, the gong the third one and the shanng the fourth one


Christianity and Islamic are the two largest religions in the world.  Both believe in one God who created the world and is most concern in the behavior and beliefs of human beings. Chinese religions include: Daoism, Muslim, Buddhist and Christians.  The Chinese are governed by community state and their capital city is Beijing. Christians called their sacred text as Bible while Muslims called it Koran, Christians believes in trinity while Muslims believes in unity, Holy day of Christians is Sunday while Muslims is Friday and one of the major symbols of Christianity is having cross or sign of the cross while Muslims have their crescent the name of Allah in Arabic, and these are examples of how religious vary.


UAE food is very rich in spices and has unique taste. Traditional dishes contain rice, meat, and fish. Arabs are used to consume sheep and goat to obtain meat. During their special occasions, they use camel meat as one of their special dishes. One of their rational foods is shawarma. In China, food is distinguished by its bold combination of sour, salty and sweet taste. Foods are usually served at once not in courses, its main dishes also is rice, meat and vegetables. Whole roasted pig is one of the center foods that are being served when there is a special occasion. Chinese prefer balance diet according to age, gender and health. They use chop stick while eating.


UAE have zoos and museums parks that are engaged in wide range of collections. Dubai shopping festival is one of their entertainments and this occurs every first quarter of the year. This occasion offers great discounts on all merchandise purchased and offers everyday car raffle that draws and displays of fireworks while in China Scarlett done in Beijing for entertainment.


Emirates have established mostly on the museums and galleries, their culture and heritage, as well as their architecture are largely inspired by Islamic architecture. It is seen reflect to their traditional lifestyles and behavior of the people. Their buildings are simple and have beautiful art to adapt the modern living. Martial arts are done and associated in china.

Sports and recreational Activities

Football and cricket are the most popular sport in UAE due to relocating of residents from the Indian subcontinent. Armies, a form of martial arts, are the national sport in Arab women are inspiring the whole word on sports because they are engaging with most sport and athletes functions. Olympics are held in Beijing China and they treasure gold medals as a reward for the competitors.

Clothing and apparel

Most Muslims countries sumptuary laws control what men and women wear, Islam requires women to wear more reserved form. Both men and women wear veils and long sleeved robes. Women wear the abaya, a long black robe with a hijab and other women may add a nijab to cover their mouth and nose leaving only the eyes exposed. At times men choose to wear men’s skirts such as togas or kilts. While Chinese, Men should wear a dark colored, conservative business suit while the Women wear a conservative suit, a skirt and blouse, or a dress. The women wear flat shoes and dresses with high neckline


Socialization groups (family, elders, children, etc.)

Emirati is divided into two collective categories: the foreign immigrants and the nationals. Citizens are subdivided into four main classes (1) the ruling shakily families, (2) the merchant class, known as al-tujjar , (3) the new middle class, and (4) the low-income groups different economic and social rewards: (1) top professionals and technocrats with international contracts, who earn high salaries and have other benefits; (2) middle-range professionals such as company salesmen, school teachers and skilled technicians; (3) low-paid unskilled workers and semi-skilled. Nationals are a fortunate minority, and benefit from business regulations and state laws. Chinese meet and socialize with friends, family during lunch or dinner time. Elders are respected and other people go for wise advice from them. Chinese prefers male children to female. This has led to the introduction of a foreign cultural component to child socialization; however, a maid’s control is viewed as negative. The school system undertakes roles in children’s socialization, considerably reducing the family’s role in the growing process (Atkins & Hills, 2012).


In U.A.E, housing has entry for foreign workers to creating a huge demand for housing and pressure is significantly increasing both rent and real estate values. Recently U.A.E government has changed its law to allow emigrants to own a house within a specific area in the federation, creating a rise in housing construction. All citizen Chinese have ancestral homes. In these cultures, there is an expressive need for set of laws that time is money, people arse active and have an urge to work hard and be busy and punctuality and precision are the norms, security is a vital aspect in individual inspiration.


Work ethics

In UAE the employees believe that a good work life balance is essential in motivating ones work. They give high motivation standard towards work. They have set in their minds that good work seems to offer them a sense of personal and professional achievement, in China people do not value work they just work as they want to.

Attitudes towards smoking, drinking, gambling, and similar social vices

In UAE, recent news shared that smoking is recently banned and they plan to have a free anti smokers’ city while in china gambling is illegal, many people smoke and drink in china. The Chinese produce tobacco.

Attitudes toward time

In Arabs prefer to work on their own, whereby they have place and need to justification and have accepted the hierarchical order. They believe that time is money; they have to be busy and hard working, where presumption and punctuality are the norm. While Chinese are not conscious on time, they are always late when it comes to management of time.

Hofstede theory:

Power distance

Emirates are powerful in this since their economy moves fast compared to the Chinese and they give value to their work and time. Although both cultures aim for progress, there is evidence that this behavior of differences results in inequality in power distance.

Individualism vs. Collectivism

Both culture shows importance to the family; however Arab culture is a collectivist society. They tend to work as a group and this is being evident of loyalty to their family, extended family. Chinese are very good in collectivist society; they tend to hear their family’s suggestion and are helpless at times since they cannot stand with their own without the help of family and other people (Lee, McCauley & Draguns, 2013).

Masculinity &Feminist

In UAE world people work to live, so they are more in masculinity, their leaders are confident and influential in dealing with people, they give prominence on equity, performance and competition. China has poor level  in masculinity, it seems that both are equal, as of these days females usually standing in the crowd, and shows that what men can do , women also can do also, though they know that women’s must submit to the authority which is their husbands.

Uncertainty Avoidance

Emirates has a high preference when it comes to uncertainty of things, they follow and maintain their beliefs, they work hard for what they have in mind that time is money, they give much value with the norms of punctuality while Chinese believe that things are out of their control and they are predestined to happen, they do not use their time wisely and have that characteristic and behavior.

Comparison based on consumer behavior “customer point of view

On the economic growth of UAE, consumers both emigrants and nationals are the most confident in their financial future and have adopted financial habits of living and spending in a luxurious lifestyle. People have learned to discern in shifting their focus to buy on products that are of high quality and reliable even with consumerism returning. For instance, when buying luxurious things, each culture has its own motivation for buying them. To some, it’s a matter of self-attraction to promote self-esteem, and it indicates their class of living, and to others, they buy luxurious things to impress others and show off their achievements. The Chinese Consumers expected personal finance and job prospects in 2013, they show less concern on the economy since it is a fully grown economy(Lee, McCauley & Draguns, 2013).

Comparison based on marketing point of view-In the United Arab Emirates one of the marketing strategy and point of view they used when attracting the consumers to buy was by giving them a huge discount for instance, in the supermarkets they tend to offer sale prices for products and offer big discount of sale, they give attention to potential customers, they do sales promotion, and attract investors by marketing their natural resources. However, in theChina, government works to promote their natural resources, to invite people from different nationalities, to attract foreign investors to invest in their country, and seek advices from these people.

Large scale companies such as Procter & Gamble is an example of brand that mixes the UAE strategy based on consumer behaviors and performs best worldwide.


In conclusion, not all societies are equal, expresses the culture attitude existing among the individuals. Culture plays a significant role in ones character, it is where you are formed and recognized, and it is in one’s culture that one can be identified.


Clothing in the UAE. Retrieved 2009-07-15.

Triandis, H. C. (2004). Culture and Social Behavior.In (Reprint ed., p. 330). New York: McGraw Hill Custom Publishing.

Atkins, P. W. B., & Hills, R. C. (2012). Cultural Identity and Convergence on Western Attitudes

And Beliefs in the United Arab Emirates. Australia: Australian National University.

Lee, Y., McCauley, C. R., &Draguns, J. G. (2013). Personality and person perception across cultures. (p. 328). Mahwah: Psychology Press.

Reisinger, Y. (2009). International tourism: Cultures and behavior. (reprint ed., pp. 281-285). London: Uk: Elsevier.

“China Tang Dynasty Culture, Religion, Poem, Arts, Architecture.” China Travel Agency, China

            Tours, Beijing Tourist. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.


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