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Global Marketing

Expats and Pop Culture in Dubai

I moved to Dubai, U.A.E when I was six years old. I was raised in the bustling city and had the opportunity to interact with numerous nationalities every day. When we look at culture, we talk about the norms, religions, languages, the likes and dislikes of the individuals in a region.

 According to Global Media Insight, as of 2018, expatriates dominate Dubai (88%) with the majority of expats coming from India (27%). With over 200 nationalities in one city, you can only imagine what kind of trends are popular in this region.

Dubai does a good job of having entertainment for all tastes and preferences. Predominantly a muslim country, Dubai celebrates every religion and with this comes celebration of every festival. Christmas and Diwali are big, but you will find every holiday being celebrated at some time or the other.

With Indians being the majority of expats, there is a big influence of Bollywood in Dubai. Bollywood is so liked in this region that when you go to a movie theatre, you will find a lot of non Hindi speaking people enjoying a Bollywood film. Individuals who don't understand the language go to these movies as there are subtitles available in English and Arabic for everyone to enjoy.

In city like Dubai, we are thrown into a realm of choices from all over the world. Bollywood and Hollywood entertainment, European shopping, Jazz music, Arabic cuisine (and any cuisine imagine), and countries such as Prague or Thailand being a hop, skip and a jump away. We are spoilt by having ever service available to us in every different way and I think consumers in Dubai have a global taste. We can go anywhere in the world and somehow spot a brand that we know of from back home.

With so many cultures available at our fingertips, individuals are able to express themselves in many ways and have the freedom to choose what they like. Do you want to try something new? Or are you comfortable eating your culture's cuisine everyday?

My tastes lie in American pop culture. In hindsight, I was exposed to Hollywood and my tv shows consisted of The O.C., One Tree Hill, Bones, Grey's Anatomy and basically any popular American tv show out there. I open the Tabloids and we get news of Andrew Garfield or any A list celebrity that is deemed interesting in that week. I was 8,000 miles away from Los Angeles, and probably had the same interests as my generation living there.

I might be interested in American culture, but my brother, who lived under the same roof as me growing up loves British culture. Our roots are Indian and we always come back to it, but even though we grew up together, our tastes lie in two completely different nations. Some might think this is Globalization at its worst, where people's taste are merging too much. However, I think with we are lucky to understand what the rest of the world is like, right in our hometown.