Geographically located in West Asia, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the biggest country in the Middle East (as measured in land mass).
In 2021, Saudi Arabia’s population was 35.5 million people. Arabic is Saudi Arabia’s official language.
Saudi Arabia offers an enticing market for consumer products, given that it ranks as the world’s 17th richest nation in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on a Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) basis. As of October 2021, Saudi Arabia’s GDP per PPP was US$1.734 trillion.
Saudi Arabia’s demand for imported consumer goods in 2020 resulted in a subtotal US$65.3 billion worth of Saudi Arabian spending on the 100 most valuable consumer imports identified in this article.
That consumer-driven dollar amount translates to 49.7% of the overall value of all goods imported into Saudi Arabia. Spending on all Saudi Arabian imports, including raw materials, intermediate products and semi-finished goods, totaled an estimated overall $131.3 billion in 2020.
Among Saudi Arabia’s most valuable imported consumer products in 2020 are: cars, phone devices including smartphones, medications, processed petroleum oils and computers.
Spending on all of Saudi Arabia’s imported goods declined by -9% from 2019 to 2020. Saudi Arabia’s purchases focused on its top 100 consumer imports decreased in value by a more modest -5.4% over the latest annual period.
The deceleration in Saudi Arabian spending for key imported consumer products fell below the global average from 2019 to 2020, which was an average drop of -8.2% for all importing countries around the world.
Among the top 100 consumer products imported by Saudi Arabia, 51 increased in total value from 2019 to 2020 whereas the remaining 49 declined.
Changes in Saudi Arabian consumer demand for essential imports offer future opportunities for international suppliers who correctly anticipate which upward or downward trends will continue.
Consumer Products Defined
Economics educator BoyceWire defines a consumer product as a final good or end product that a business creates for consumers to buy. For example, consumers often purchase refined petroleum oil at the gas station while imported crude oil is an intermediate good subject to further processing before being sold to end users.
Although there may be a few wealthy individual buyers, products like turbojets are excluded from the consumer products targeted by this study. That is because turbojets are usually purchased by corporations. In contrast, it is common for a consumer to buy a motorcycle.
Types of Consumer Products
This article focuses on 3 distinct consumer product types.
Convenience Products are easy to access, non-durable, have relatively lower prices and therefore consumers frequently purchase them. Examples of convenience products are food, alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, and soap.
Shopping Products are not as easily available, involve more time to make a buying decision, are durable and are not bought as often as most convenience products. A great example of a shopping product is a mobile phone where buying the wrong model is a much more expensive mistake than buying a disappointing loaf of bread.
Specialty Products describe another consumer product type. This grey area includes infrequently purchased, expensive, durable and sometimes rare items. Consumers may consider the product’s brand image when making their purchase decisions. Some examples of speciality products are gold, silver, diamonds, jewelry, and branded refrigerators and dishwashers.
Saudi Arabia’s Consumer Imports Smart List
The searchable marketing intelligence table below showcases Saudi Arabia’s 100 most valuable imported consumer products in descending order. Items were selected at the four-digit Harmonized System tariff classification code level.
The table’s fourth column is labeled YOY for year over year. The fifth column identifies each entry’s consumer product type.
|4||Processed petroleum oils||$3,787,383,000||+5.9%||CP|
|5||Computers, optical readers||$2,054,786,000||+11.5%||SP|
|8||Rubber tires (new)||$1,209,966,000||-22.3%||SP|
|11||Hot-roll iron/non-alloy steel items||$1,019,059,000||-8.6%||SP|
|17||Other food preparations||$784,629,000||+4%||CP|
|19||Malt extract, food preparations||$668,935,000||+0.8%||CP|
|20||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$668,698,000||-0.3%||CP|
|23||Women's clothing (not knit/crochet)||$611,455,000||-28.5%||SP|
|28||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$500,031,000||+14.9%||SY|
|29||Sugar (cane or beet)||$489,957,000||+15.2%||CP|
|30||Electrical converters/power units||$482,036,000||-2.8%||SP|
|31||Miscellaneous textile items||$473,781,000||+595.9%||SP|
|32||Seats (not barber/dentist chairs)||$473,456,000||-5.1%||SP|
|33||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$458,480,000||+9.7%||SP|
|35||Miscellaneous plastic items||$424,597,000||+19.7%||CP|
|36||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations||$423,149,000||-18.1%||CP|
|37||Fresh or dried citrus fruit||$422,887,000||+17.8%||CP|
|38||Other organic cleaning preparations||$388,718,000||+17%||CP|
|39||Cases, handbags, wallets||$378,563,000||-32.7%||SP|
|40||Perfumes, toilet waters||$348,169,000||-24.5%||CP|
|42||Electric storage batteries||$322,438,000||-12.7%||SY|
|44||Electric generating sets, converters||$315,592,000||+8.4%||SY|
|45||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$315,507,000||-23.6%||SP|
|48||Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)||$301,544,000||+19%||CP|
|50||Dishwash, clean/dry/fill machines||$292,561,000||+21.8%||SY|
|52||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$284,931,000||+19.1%||SP|
|54||Screws, bolts, washers, hooks, pins||$275,780,000||+5.3%||SP|
|55||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$275,349,000||-23.1%||SP|
|56||Soap, organic surface-active goods||$268,756,000||-7.4%||SP|
|57||Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)||$267,243,000||+8.8%||CP|
|58||Household base metal mountings||$263,472,000||-6.6%||SY|
|61||Fruit and vegetable juices||$257,419,000||+26.7%||CP|
|62||Sugar confectionery (no cocoa)||$250,478,000||-3.1%||CP|
|63||Wrist/pocket watches (precious case)||$248,814,000||+19.3%||SP|
|64||Shaving preparations, deodorants||$248,665,000||+8.8%||SP|
|65||Fresh or chilled beef||$247,031,000||+25.9%||CP|
|66||Tea (including flavored)||$243,557,000||+2.9%||CP|
|67||Prepared vegetables (frozen)||$241,397,000||-15.6%||CP|
|68||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$236,051,000||-12.3%||CP|
|69||Special hand/machine tools||$234,593,000||+0.2%||SY|
|71||Spices ginger, saffron, thyme, curry||$229,923,000||+27.4%||CP|
|75||Apples, pears (fresh)||$219,990,000||+4.8%||CP|
|76||Plastic wares (table, kitchen, toiletry)||$216,133,000||-8.4%||CP|
|77||Medication mixes not in dosage||$215,785,000||+51.7%||CP|
|79||Tissues, napkins, toilet paper||$209,519,000||+44.1%||CP|
|81||Footwear (rubber or plastic)||$205,714,000||-37.2%||SP|
|82||Vulcanized rubber items||$205,147,000||+31.9%||SP|
|84||Electric motors, not generating sets||$204,496,000||-9.9%||SY|
|85||Unrecorded sound media||$204,290,000||-9.2%||SP|
|87||Iron/steel tables, household items||$202,948,000||-28.7%||SP|
|88||Felt, other non-woven garments||$202,487,000||-50.9%||SP|
|89||Sauces, condiments, seasoning||$202,090,000||+18.7%||CP|
|90||Woven floor coverings, carpets||$191,214,000||-31%||SP|
|92||Eggs in shell (bird)||$185,121,000||+151%||CP|
|93||Prepared vegetables (non-frozen)||$183,822,000||+20.3%||CP|
|95||Computer parts, accessories||$179,567,000||+17.9%||SP|
|96||Video console games, table games||$171,977,000||-5.4%||SP|
|97||Women's underwear (knit/crochet)||$163,505,000||+28.5%||SP|
|99||Waters with added sugar||$159,328,000||+32.3%||CP|
|100||Onions, garlic, leeks||$158,253,000||+15.4%||CP|
Totaling 43 items, Saudi Arabia’s most popular product type is convenience products (CP), articles that are bought routinely, used only once and generally require less thinking time before making a buying decision. Popular examples include medications; processed petroleum oils; rice; poultry meat; concentrated or sweetened milk; miscellaneous food preparations; cheese; and malt extract or other food preparations.
In second place via 42 place are shopping products (SP), items that are stored or re-used over time. This cohort was led by imported cars; phone devices including smartphones; computers including optical readers; new rubber tires; items made from hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel; automobile parts or accessories; miscellaneous furniture; and trucks.
Another 15 speciality products (SY) rank among Saudi Arabia’s top 100 imported consumer goods. Major speciality products imported into Saudi Arabia include air conditioners, gold, liquid pumps, jewelry and items for beauty, makeup or skin care.
Durable consumer products are goods like cars, trucks, printing machinery, insulated wire or cable, and furniture that last a relatively long time. Consumers can put durable products to use again and again. By product type, note that both shopping products and speciality products are considered as durable consumer goods.
Non-durable consumer products (ND) are goods that are not re-used once consumed. Coal, medications, sugar and corn are examples of non-durable goods. Convenience products are uniquely non-durable consumer products.
Based on the product types identified in the above table, 57 of Saudi Arabia’s highest-value consumer imported products are durable while 43 are classified as non-durable.
Using the provided table, you can also peruse the greatest increases or decreases in product values from 2019 to 2020. To do so, click on the heading of the fourth column.
Fastest-Growing Consumer Imports
Listed below are the top 10 consumer products imported into Saudi Arabia that experienced the highest percentage increases in spending from 2019 to 2020.
- Miscellaneous textile items: Up 595.9% (US$473.8 million)
- Bird eggs in shell: Up 151% ($185.1 million)
- Nutmeg, cardamoms: Up 65% ($307.5 million)
- Medication mixes not in dosage: Up 51.7% ($215.8 million)
- Tractors: Up 49.2% ($320.4 million)
- Tissues, napkins, toilet paper: Up 44.1% ($209.5 million)
- Waters with added sugar: Up 32.3% ($159.3 million)
- Vulcanized rubber apparel: Up 31.9% ($205.1 million)
- Knitted or crocheted women’s underwear: Up 28.5% ($163.5 million)
- Spices like ginger, saffron, thyme, curry: Up 27.4% ($229.9 million)
There are 4 fastest-growers categorized as imported shopping products that consumers can store or re-use over time. The shopping products are miscellaneous textile items, tractors, vulcanized rubber apparel, and knitted or crocheted women’s underwear.
The remaining 6 front-runners are considered as one-time usage (non-durable) imported convenience products. Fastest growers among these were bird eggs in shell, nutmeg and cardamoms, medication mixes not in dosage.
Not one among the above top 10 gainers is a speciality product.
Worst-Declining Consumer Imports
Spending by import buyers in Saudi Arabia on the following 10 items decreased in value by the highest percentages from 2019 to 2020.
- Felt, other non-woven garments: Down -50.9% (US$202.5 million)
- Gold (unwrought): Down -49.9% ($1.2 billion)
- Printing machinery: Down -47.2% ($215.1 million)
- Jewelry: Down -43.4% ($602.7 million)
- Rubber or plastic footwear: Down -37.2% ($205.7 million)
- Orthopedic appliances: Down -36.1% ($182.4 million)
- Temperature-change machines: Down -33.4% ($334.2 million)
- Cases, handbags, wallets: Down -32.7% ($378.6 million)
- Woven floor coverings, carpets: Down -31% ($191.2 million)
- Automobile parts/accessories: Down -30% ($938.6 million)
Seven categories among Saudi Arabia’s top 10 severest decliners are durable shopping products used over a period of time. The severest slippages among those categories were for Saudi Arabia’s imported felt or other non-woven garments; printing machinery; rubber or plastic footwear; and orthopedic appliances.
There were 3 items categorized as speciality products among Saudi Arabia’s 10 major import decliners from 2019 to 2020. These are gold, jewelry and temperature-change machines.
Not one convenience product made Saudi Arabia’s list of top-declining goods year over year.
Key Product Suppliers by Country
The following analysis reveals competitive suppliers that target demand for 5 of Saudi Arabia’s top consumer import products.
Saudi Arabia’s biggest imported consumer product by value is cars. The other 4 leading consumer goods imported into Saudi Arabia are phone devices including smartphones, medications, processed petroleum oils, and computers.
Below, you will find major supplying countries for Saudi Arabia’s imported:
Cars: Japan (27.5% of total), United States (14%), South Korea (12.9%), China (11.5%), Germany (5.7%), Thailand (5.5%), India (5.3%), Indonesia (4.8%), United Kingdom (2.1%), and Taiwan (1.7%).
Phone devices including smartphones: China (78.2% of total), Vietnam (8.6%), India (3.1%), United States (2.2%), Malaysia (1.1%), Finland (also 1.1%), Mexico (0.8%), Thailand (0.7%), Taiwan (0.5%), and Germany (0.4%).
Medications: Germany (17.4% of total), United States (13.7%), France (11.3%), Ireland (6.5%), Denmark (6.4%), Switzerland (6.1%), Sweden (5.9%), Italy (5.4%), United Kingdom (5%), and Belgium (2.6%).
Processed petroleum oils: Egypt (25.9% of total), United Arab Emirates (24.6%), Netherlands (9.7%), Singapore (9.3%), India (7.4%), Greece (4.8%), Oman (4.1%), United States (2.5%), Bahamas (2.1%), and Bahrain (1.8%).
Computers: China (64.7% of total), United States (12%), Czech Republic (4.8%), Poland (4.4%), Mexico (2%), Ireland (1.7%), Thailand (1.4%), Germany (1.3%), Vietnam (1.25%), and Taiwan (1%).
More great research: Saudi Arabia’s Main Imports by Top Supplier Countries, Sri Lanka’s 100 Top Imported Consumer Products by Sales, Bangladesh’s 100 Most Valuable Imported Consumer Products, United Kingdom’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, Denmark’s 100 Most Imported Consumer Products, Chile’s 100 Most Valuable Imported Consumer Products
Independent insights and analysis presented in this article are based on researched facts and statistics sourced from the following educational portals.
BoyceWire, Consumer Goods Definition.
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Saudi Arabia Economy.
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases.
International Trade Centre, Trade Map.
Richest Country Reports, Top 100 Richest Countries by GDP.
Trading Economics, Saudi Arabia Consumer Spending.
Wikipedia, List of largest consumer markets.
World’s Top Exports, Saudi Arabia’s Top 10 Imports.