KPMG is pleased to collaborate with DataEQ to analyze consumer sentiment towards 20 banks in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). This index tracks an extensive dataset comprising 3,965,821 X (formerly known as Twitter) posts about select GCC banks, spanning the period from 1 May 2022 to 30 April 2023. These posts were then processed using DataEQ’s unique Crowd and AI technology.1

This report stands as the first index of its kind, designed to quantify the experiences and sentiments of consumers within the GCC banking sector. Operating within the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East, the GCC unites six Arab nations— Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Given that banking serves as a cornerstone of economic vitality, understanding each country’s performance in this realm is critical for the collective progress and strategic development of the region.

Known for their oil-rich economies, the GCC countries have thriving banking sectors that play a central role in their economic development. The region’s banks are well-capitalized, technologically advanced, and offer a wide range of financial services to businesses and individuals.

The GCC banking sector has experienced steady growth due to infrastructure projects, economic diversification efforts, and a young, affluent population driving demand for various banking services. Crossborder banking activities are common within the GCC, facilitated by economic integration agreements.

Additionally, regulatory bodies in each country closely supervise the banking sector to maintain stability and ensure compliance with international standards. Overall, the industry is characterized by innovation, strong regulation, and a focus on adapting to global financial trends.

Key findings

Saudi Arabian consumers were the most engaged online, as Saudi banks dominated the conversation within the GCC.


Social media platforms often serve as outlets for customer grievances, especially when conventional communication pathways fall short. Accordingly, the majority of markets experienced more negative Net Sentiment than positive.


Qatar topped the overall Net Sentiment rankings, followed by Bahrain, which was second highest.


Positive financial performance and results contributed to a favorable view of banks reporting net positive profits.


Reputational mentions accounted for at least 50% of the positive conversation, with Bahrain leading at 91.7%.


Operational mentions contributed to nearly 30% of Saudi banks’ positive sentiment.


Reputational Net Sentiment was spearheaded by the UAE and closely followed by Qatar.


Banking commitments towards social responsibility played a major role in elevating the industry’s image.


Across the GCC, the urgency and reliability of customer service were areas identified for improvement.


Bank fees led to increased consumer frustration and cancellation threats.


Competitions and promotional campaigns effectively drove brand awareness and engaged consumers.


Contests were a focal point for engagement, generating an uptick in positive feedback. The FIFA World CupTM 2022 notably amplified this, especially among banks in Qatar.


Blue indicates positive/neutral
Pink indicates negative

1 The DataEQ Crowd is a proprietary crowdsourcing platform comprising a network of trained and vetted local language contributors. The full DataEQ methodology can be found in the Appendix.

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