One-Percenters Keep Shopping at the Dollar Store
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    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,627,086 (-0.52%)       Melbourne $991,016 (+0.02%)       Brisbane $1,008,247 (+0.57%)       Adelaide $881,757 (-1.94%)       Perth $857,431 (+0.47%)       Hobart $728,683 (+0.15%)       Darwin $650,080 (-2.29%)       Canberra $1,042,488 (+1.17%)       National $1,052,954 (-0.17%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $754,033 (-0.54%)       Melbourne $493,897 (-0.18%)       Brisbane $575,927 (+2.34%)       Adelaide $460,725 (+2.82%)       Perth $451,917 (+0.14%)       Hobart $507,207 (+0.52%)       Darwin $359,807 (+0.61%)       Canberra $486,447 (-2.01%)       National $534,000 (+0.26%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,472 (+43)       Melbourne 14,783 (-132)       Brisbane 7,948 (+15)       Adelaide 2,170 (+81)       Perth 5,836 (+49)       Hobart 1,243 (+2)       Darwin 251 (+7)       Canberra 967 (-21)       National 43,670 (+44)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,699 (+113)       Melbourne 8,259 (+38)       Brisbane 1,637 (+2)       Adelaide 386 (+14)       Perth 1,480 (-37)       Hobart 204 (+6)       Darwin 409 (+5)       Canberra 1,034 (+6)       National 22,108 (+147)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $820 ($0)       Melbourne $600 ($0)       Brisbane $640 (-$10)       Adelaide $610 (+$10)       Perth $680 ($0)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $740 (-$10)       Canberra $680 ($0)       National $675 (-$2)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $760 ($0)       Melbourne $595 ($0)       Brisbane $630 (-$10)       Adelaide $500 ($0)       Perth $625 (+$5)       Hobart $460 (+$10)       Darwin $535 (-$5)       Canberra $550 ($0)       National $595 (-$1)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 6,053 (+221)       Melbourne 6,376 (+263)       Brisbane 4,431 (+5)       Adelaide 1,566 (+60)       Perth 2,666 (-61)       Hobart 431 (0)       Darwin 102 (+7)       Canberra 621 (+19)       National 22,246 (+514)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,306 (+260)       Melbourne 6,173 (+102)       Brisbane 2,248 (-24)       Adelaide 399 (+26)       Perth 754 (+14)       Hobart 148 (+5)       Darwin 145 (+9)       Canberra 785 (+39)       National 20,958 (+431)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 2.62% (↑)        Melbourne 3.15% (↓)       Brisbane 3.30% (↓)     Adelaide 3.60% (↑)        Perth 4.12% (↓)       Hobart 3.92% (↓)     Darwin 5.92% (↑)        Canberra 3.39% (↓)       National 3.33% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 5.24% (↑)      Melbourne 6.26% (↑)        Brisbane 5.69% (↓)       Adelaide 5.64% (↓)     Perth 7.19% (↑)      Hobart 4.72% (↑)        Darwin 7.73% (↓)     Canberra 5.88% (↑)        National 5.79% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.8% (↑)      Melbourne 0.7% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 0.9% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.0% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.1% (↑)      Brisbane 1.0% (↑)      Adelaide 0.5% (↑)      Perth 0.5% (↑)      Hobart 1.4% (↑)      Darwin 1.7% (↑)      Canberra 1.4% (↑)      National 1.1% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 28.7 (↓)       Melbourne 30.2 (↓)       Brisbane 30.7 (↓)     Adelaide 25.9 (↑)        Perth 35.8 (↓)       Hobart 37.6 (↓)     Darwin 37.0 (↑)      Canberra 28.5 (↑)      National 31.8 (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 29.2 (↓)     Melbourne 30.4 (↑)        Brisbane 29.5 (↓)     Adelaide 26.3 (↑)        Perth 36.6 (↓)       Hobart 29.7 (↓)       Darwin 45.0 (↓)     Canberra 39.6 (↑)        National 33.3 (↓)           
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One-Percenters Keep Shopping at the Dollar Store

Wealthy consumers scour discount-chain aisles for bargains

By RACHEL WOLFE
Wed, Jun 21, 2023 8:34amGrey Clock 4 min

That Mercedes in the dollar-store parking lot isn’t an illusion.

High-earners joined the rest of the country in flooding discount retailers such as Dollar General, Aldi grocery store and Five Below as prices for food and staples rose. Now, with inflation at half its peak, they aren’t letting up.

InMarket, which tracks retailer foot traffic, measured a 4% average increase in the share of dollar-store visits this year among those making more than $100,000, compared with the second half of 2022. Households with six-figure incomes are 15% more likely to say they would shop at dollar stores than they were last June, going from 39% to 45%, according to daily surveys from Morning Consult of about 50,000 Americans.

Wealthy Americans long viewed discount stores as “not for them,” says Michael Liersch, who consults with high-net-worth individuals as head of advice and planning at Wells Fargo. Yet paying $8 for a carton of eggs struck even many affluent people as ridiculous.

Overspending on things was once fashionable for some, Liersch says. “These days, it’s about making the most of your money and not getting ripped off.”

No matter how much you make, consumers say, there is no longer a stigma in going after a good deal.

Cheap kombucha

Autry Liggett, who works in operations for a Santa Barbara, Calif., hedge fund, exclusively shopped at Whole Foods and other high-end chains for groceries and household goods until recently. Growing up, he says he looked down on what he saw as poor-quality products at discount retailers.

Then, one of his friends brought over a case of 99-cent-store kombucha and probiotic drinks a few months ago. “She makes good money, so I just assumed she also shopped at Whole Foods and the other places I shop,” he says. “I was shocked.”

He now pops into the 99 Cents Only store downtown at least once a week, making sure to visit on Tuesday or Thursday, when they restock, for the best selection. He recently bought vitamins that retail at Whole Foods for $25 for $1.99, and a pint of organic blueberries for 99 cents.

A Dollar General spokeswoman says the brand has attracted and retained higher-income customers lately. A recently updated fresh-produce section, now available in nearly 3,900 stores, might be bringing more customers in.

Plenty of wealthy people point out that they got that way partly by not overspending on the small stuff—especially when it is all the same stuff.

“A carrot is a carrot is a carrot,” says Morgan Pierce, who earns about $200,000 a year working at McDonald’s Chicago corporate office. She frequently hits up Aldi and her local dollar store for groceries and other staples. Her last birthday party featured a private chef—and $1 plates and decorations.

Pierce, who was quick to tell her guests where many of the party supplies came from, says people were impressed. It is a shift from how she felt as a child, when she questioned why her family always had to hunt for sales. Now, she says she realises her mom has always been a bargain hound.

“Not everything on the shelves is well-made, but there are things that are, and I am not ashamed to go into those places and get them, and I’m not afraid to tell people about it,” Pierce says.

Bob Gillman, an executive transition consultant, has shopped at Aldi and other discount chains for decades. He didn’t mention the habit to his friends until recently, when a branch popped up near his tony Palm Springs, Calif., community.

“We see lots of people driving Porsches, Mercedes and BMWs in the parking lot,” Gillman says. “No matter how much you make, you don’t want to spend $4 on an avocado when you can get one for 59 cents.”

Few seem to mind feeding a quarter to check out a shopping cart, or bagging their own groceries, Gillman says.

Gillman’s daughter, Rachel Gillman Rischall, often rolled her eyes at her dad’s zealous discount shopping. That is, until this past year, when her grocery bills soared, and birthday-party gifts for her kids’ friends topped $50 a pop near her Chicago home. Fed up, she checked out the toy selection at Five Below and hasn’t looked back. She also now buys journals, art supplies, stationery and snacks there.

“My dad is so proud,” she says.

Shopping at dollar stores is a choice for some, yet it is a necessity for many, and Americans increasingly get their groceries from these retailers.

Expanding into more-prosperous areas is part of Aldi’s strategy, analysts say. The retailer plans to add 120 new U.S. stores in 2023, after opening and remodelling 139 stores last year. The brand says it attracted 9.4 million new U.S. customers in 2022.

Budget influence

Social media is also helping make dollar and discount stores cool. Videos tagged #dollartree have a combined 7.6 billion views on TikTok. Many feature influencers trying out what are known as dupes of popular high-end beauty products and other goods.

Entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel says her discount and drugstore hauls have attracted more attention than anything she did when she was featured on the reality show “The Real Housewives of New York City.”

“I go in there with my Hermès bag,” says Frankel, whose YouTube and TikTok videos shopping at dollar stores and unboxing ultra cheap products regularly ring up millions of views. She says she isn’t paid by any of the discount chains for her videos.

While some viewers have accused her of pretending to like and use a $1 lip gloss or storage bin when she could easily afford its more expensive counterpart, Frankel says her enthusiasm is genuine.

“What’s the difference between a dollar-store and a $20 pair of flip flops? Is there such a thing as truffle-oil-infused rubber?” she says. Lip gloss, meanwhile, “stays on for five minutes no matter how much you spend.”



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How the Middle East Became the Latest ‘Gold Rush’ in Marketing

The Middle East is set to be the fastest-growing marketing region in the world, driven by momentum in countries such as Saudi Arabia

By MEGAN GRAHAM
Tue, Jun 18, 2024 5 min

Saudi Arabia’s fledgling advertising industry and continued growth in the sector in the United Arab Emirates are helping to make the marketing business in the Middle East the fastest-growing in the world.

Ad spending in the Middle East is projected to increase 8.1% to $6.6 billion this year, up from 3.5% last year, according to advertising research firm WARC.

That expansion is building from a much smaller base than in many other ad markets. The Netherlands alone will generate $6 billion in ad spending in 2024, up about 2.3%, WARC said. But it is also enough to outpace every other region in 2024, the firm said.

“It reminds me almost of the gold rush,” said Reda Raad , chief executive of TBWA\Raad Group, an ad agency based in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, that is part of the U.S.-based ad holding company Omnicom Group . “I don’t think we’re going to see this type of growth again in our lifetime.” TBWA\Raad has won eight new clients over the past year, with an increase in head count of 17% to accommodate the new work, Raad said.

Some international brands have long maintained a presence in the region. PepsiCo has considered the area a strategic market for decades, said Karim Elfiqi , senior vice president and chief marketing officer at PepsiCo Africa, Middle East and South Asia. Sponsorship deals with local stars such as Mohamed Salah , a soccer player from Egypt, “are a testimony of how over time, we have been part of the cultural fabric of the region,” Elfiqi said.

Other major brands have formed a more recent focus on the Middle East. The Lego Group opened a Middle East and Africa headquarters in Dubai in 2019, citing the size of the region’s young population. That office has developed work such as a Ramadan-themed campaign that ran in the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia, among other locations.

‘Massive growth’

The Middle East’s ad market has lagged behind regions such as North America and Europe partly because of stricter cultural norms and regulations that affected business, as did a more limited media landscape and economic instability, according to Raad.

But marketing growth in the region is now being driven in part by newfound marketing interest in Saudi Arabia, where ad spending this year is expected to reach $2.1 billion, nearly double its level in 2019, according to WARC. Growth is also coming from the U.A.E., whose ad market is expected to reach $1.7 billion in 2024. Smaller contributors include Qatar and Kuwait.

The landscape has changed now because of economic diversification, increased connectivity and a move into the digital world, leading international brands to enter and invest in campaigns tailored to the region, Raad said.

Four years ago, Saudi Arabia made up a small proportion of business at Lightblue, a creative experience and tech agency based in Dubai. These days, 40% of its business comes from the country, says co-founder David Balfour , who opened an office in Riyadh last month as a result.

“The conversation used to be, ‘We’re going to do this in Dubai.’ Now, it’s ‘We’re going to do this in Dubai—and in Saudi.’” Balfour said. “We’re seeing massive growth in that region.”

There have been speed bumps. As government spending reaches huge levels , Saudi Arabia experienced a rare economic contraction in 2023.

But the country’s efforts to expand its economic pursuits beyond oil have led to the creation of new brands, which are seeking the help of marketing agencies to get the word out.

Marketers in the region are seeking help to stay on-trend in areas such as generative artificial intelligence and social media, said Greg Paull , principal of R3, a consulting firm that helps match advertisers with agencies.

“U.A.E. has been a magnet for the region for 20 years as more investment has come in—but with the new leadership in Saudi since 2017 [when Mohammed bin Salman was named crown prince ], this market has gone through remarkable growth,” Paull said.

Saudi Arabia has faced criticism for its human-rights record under the crown prince, the day-to-day ruler of the kingdom, especially over the 2018 killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the more recent jailing of women’s rights activists.

Mohammed has outlasted the international isolation that followed Khashoggi’s killing, however, and continues to pursue an economic diversification plan dubbed Vision 2030. The country last year unveiled plans for a new international airline called Riyadh Air, is investing billions of dollars to build its tourism and videogame industries, and in March hosted a golf tournament in Jeddah under the auspices of LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed league that has both challenged the PGA Tour and struck a deal to unify with it.

Changing tides

Vision 2030 also calls women’s empowerment a top social priority and seeks to increase the country’s employment rate of women.

Nada Hakeem , CEO and co-founder of Saudi creative agency Wetheloft, said the perceptions of hardships for women in the marketing and advertising industry are outdated and inaccurate.

“As a Saudi woman who founded my company in 2012, I’ve always felt supported by the creative community and the industry as a whole,” Hakeem said. “While every society may have its challenges, I can confidently say that these challenges have not hindered our growth.”

A progression of new laws, policies and incentives are making the industry in Saudi Arabia more inclusive and supportive for women, she added.

In certain parts of the Middle East, “absolutely, it’s still challenging, but they are making the right strides, and they have the right quotas and ambitions in place,” said Rebecca Bezzina , CEO for the EMEA region at R/GA, an agency owned by Interpublic Group of Cos.

“They’ve got wealth, they’ve got world-class ambition, world-class budget. They’re not shy of doing things in the right way,” Bezzina added, speaking of the region overall. “But they still have a talent shortage, especially from a creative and design and product point of view. So often what we’ve found our success has been that they’ve come to us and said, ‘Oh, we want a world-class agency to help us launch this new venture or do this new brand.’”

R/GA said it sees 69% more requests for agency work from marketers in the region today than it did five years ago. It recently handled a brand redesign for Banque Saudi Fransi, which wanted to reaffirm its Saudi roots with a modern identity, and created Weyay, the brand for a new digital bank from the National Bank of Kuwait.

The agency hasn’t notably increased its regional workforce, but it has made changes to facilitate working across Europe and the Middle East.

Other Western players are making moves to capture a piece of the growth. Advertising giant WPP has long worked in Saudi Arabia through units such as Ogilvy and GroupM, but in 2021 established a joint venture with a local company to create ICG Saudi Arabia, a communications and media company based in Saudi Arabia. Ad holding company Stagwell opened new offices for its media agency Assembly in Riyadh in 2021 and in Cairo in 2022.

Regional hospitality

Some executives said certain facets of business dealings in the Middle East are different than in other parts of the world.

Bertrand Morin, a group account director for R/GA who is based in London and works often with Middle Eastern clients, said he spends much more time speaking about personal lives and families with those clients than those in the U.K. or U.S. He has been invited to Middle Eastern clients’ homes to join their families for dinner, something that has never happened with clients elsewhere.

But others say it can feel surprisingly familiar.

Balfour, the Lightblue co-founder, said he was struck by the number of ad-agency workers recently having dinner at the Riyadh location of steakhouse chain Beefbar, and the scene’s similarity to far-off locations.

“The staff are from everywhere in the world. The service and the food is unbelievable. There’s a DJ playing,” Balfour said. “Apart from not having alcohol, you could be anywhere in the world.”

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