Reaching the Consumer in Syria

Overview by

Marketing Opportunities

Growing Sectors
New technologies (telephones, computers, i-pods), ready to wear (development of western fashion boutiques, such as Mango, Women Secret, Benetton, Exceed, Stefanel, etc.), cars and new styles of dining out (for example, opening of sushi restaurants).
Consumer Behavior
Due to a low purchasing power among the majority of consumers, the price factor is essential when choosing a product. However, the crossing towards a market economy is highly changing the life style and the consuming habits of the Syrian population. New products are beginning to emerge in the Syrian market: luxury cars, computers and satellite televisions... The liberalization of the economy has generated a real revolution in the fields of clothing and new technologies of information and communication.
Consumer Profile and Purchasing Power
The liberalization of the Syrian economy is accentuating the inequalities in the country. A new class of consumers is surfacing. At the same time, the lowest social classe is becoming more impoverished.
Consumer Recourse to Credit
In contrast to Lebanon, consumer credit has not developed in Syria. The liberalization of the banking system is still too recent.

Media in Which to Advertise

There are many private TV channels, notably Addunia TV, Ninar TV, Orient TV... Addunia TV is the most renown channel, it has the most viewers and it is a real important advertising medium.
There are many radio stations, notably Rotana, Melody FM, Al Madeena...
The Syrian population is a radio listener. Therefore, advertising through this communication media reaches a large audience.

Main Radios
Almadinafm: Private radio station broadcasting news and music.
Shamfm:  Radio station based in Damascus, broadcasting many entertainment programs.
Arabesque: Radio station broadcasting news, music and entertainment programs.
Rotanastyle: Private radio station broadcasting news and music.
Mixfmsyria:  English private radio station broadcasting flash news and music.
New Technologies (E-Marketing, SMS, etc.)

Main Advertising Agencies
UG (United Group) is Syria's most  renown agency.
Kawalys is specialized in advertising displays
Araboo: main advertising-marketing agencies
Arab Advertising Organization

Main Principles of Advertising Regulations

Alcohol advertising is prohibited in Syria.
A decree created in 1996 prohibits the advertising of tobacco products. The Syrian government has enacted several laws against smoking since 1996. A law of 2006 prohibits smoking in certain public places and in the public transportation systems. In March 2008, a law was passed prohibiting the sale of tobacco to minors, under 19 years old. In 2009, a law was also passed prohibiting smoking in cafes, restaurants, etc. However, it has not yet been applied.
Other Rules
In order to work in the advertising sector in Syria, it is mandatory to obtain a license from the AAO (the Arab Advertising Organization) which is the equivalent to the legal entity in advertising regulations. The AAO is a governmental institution which controls and supervises advertising in Syria. This institution plays an important role in Syria's media since all  the reservations of air-time for commercials in the state's channels are required to pass through the AAO. Moreover, it collects a tax of 17% from the private participants of the advertising market. For example, if a client wants to promote an advertising insert page in a private magazine, the client must pay a tax of 17% to the AAO.
Use of Foreign Languages in Advertisement
The usage of a foreign language on TV or in outdoor advertising (such as bill-posting, fliers on car's windshields, banners, projections...) is controlled. The main language used for outdoor media must be classic Arabic, called Fusha. It is possible to use English to a maximum of 60% of the total text edited.

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