The Kuwaiti market is highly receptive to the franchise business model. High per capita income, significant spending power, tax-free income earnings, and an upwardly mobile population serve to underline business opportunities in Kuwait.
American franchises are warmly welcomed in this small, wealthy country. Kuwaitis are very familiar with U.S. brands and products as they frequently travel to the United States for tourism and education (approximately 10% of Kuwaiti high-school graduates’ study at U.S. colleges and universities).
Best Prospects for U.S. Franchisors
Kuwait hosts some of the top franchisers of U.S. brands across the middle east. Thus, a franchise partner in Kuwait likely has regional connections and aspirations to take a brand regionally. Although more than 50 U.S. food franchises are currently active in Kuwait, there is plenty of space for new brands with the opening of new shopping malls and entertainment centers. Earlier this year, a 300-store, 70,000 square meter mall opened. A mall of equal or greater size is planned nearby. Thus, the opportunity for retail is high.
In recent years, Kuwait introduced new entertainment and educational concepts such as Make Meaning, Trampo, National Geographic Ultimate Explorer, Sky Zone, Paintball, Color Me Mine, and others in order to make shopping malls a prime destination for families where they can enjoy shopping, food, and entertainment in one centralized location. Franchises must be flexible to adapt to local tastes and Islamic requirements such as the serving of only “halal” meat in restaurants.
Market Entry Considerations
Kuwait can be expensive, largely due to foreign firms needing to have a local partner to secure office space, hire workers, and meet all of the other administrative requirements with the Kuwaiti government. However, because low labor costs and low taxes, many U.S franchises been successful.
The use of social networks is high in Kuwait across all ages, including both Kuwaitis and expats. WhatsApp is commonly used across all nationalities, while Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat are popular among Kuwaitis. Facebook is popular among expats. Very often a restaurant or retail store will have an Instagram page rather than a website, to better reach the target audience r and more used medium for marketing. Instagram and Snapchat are the best platforms to reach the Kuwaiti population.
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