JEDDAH – A recent study revealed that 82 percent of people in Iran and 79 percent of those in Saudi Arabia chew gum, compared to 59 percent in the USA, despite the United States being home to Wrigley’s, the world’s largest chewing gum brand.
The latest "Factoid" research by Kantar Media’s Global TGI noted that local custom is likely to play a role in these consumption figures.
For example, in Middle Eastern countries, it is a commonplace practice to hand out chewing gum to customers in lieu of change.
However, in Asia, especially in Southeast Asia, people favor chewing betel leaves and areca nuts as digestives and also as mouth fresheners. In Malaysia, 18 percent of the population chew gum and Thailand the figure is 16 percent. Yet 44 percent of people in Great Britain chew gum, the research showed.
Singapore, incidentally, is known for its strict rules against spitting chewing gums out, and even penalize the guilty.
"Competition is fierce among chewing gum brands," said Tracy Allnutt, Head of Commercial Development at Global TGI. "Our Factoid research gives marketers a brief overview of how they should shape their branding strategies by region."
The latest Factoid research shows that Western countries fall far behind Middle Eastern nations in this regard. Spain comes after USA, with 54 percent of citizens being avid gum chewers, followed by France and Poland. Asian countries like Malaysia and Thailand are those where gum chewing is the least popular.
Most popular global brands are Orbit, which is preferred by 35 percent customers worldwide, followed by Chic, which is the favorite of 26 percent shoppers. Banana(Mozi) and Relax follow.
In Saudi Arabia, Nova is the most popular brand, preferred by 31 percent shoppers, apart from Batook and Gandour, which are hold sway over 26 percent and 24 percent of the customers, respectively.
In another study, Global Industry Analysts, Inc. said the global market for gums is forecast to reach $23.1 billion by the year 2017, buoyed by growing demand for medicated and sugar free gum products, particularly from the growing tribe of health conscious consumers.
In addition, factors such as product innovations, enhanced taste and flavors, efficient distribution and huge product promotion campaigns are expected to provide a strong platform for augmenting gums demand. Besides, development of value-added gum varieties such as nutraceutical gum and biodegradable gum with health and environmental benefits expand traditional market frontiers, enabling sound growth in the foreseeable future. – SG/QJM