Why Dubai is a much sought-after retail hub for global brands
Shopping is an important choice for international visitors to Dubai, who spent $28.5 billion over the past year.
Dubai - Companies keen on choosing the emirate to find a foothold for themselves in the region
Dubai is a city that is constantly evolving in the sense that new projects and pioneering initiatives are either launched or announced regularly, enabling Dubai to further enhance its appeal as a 'must-visit' destination. After all, it is the city that has won a number of international awards, caught the attention of the globe with its incredible tourism and retail offerings, and has competed with the world's best cities for first place in numerous fields.
Dubai has a special way of capturing the imagination of everyone who has heard about or visited it. It is the most recommended tourist destination, the most attractive to visitors, and the most frequently visited place. It has continued to rank as one of the world's top four most prestigious destinations for international travelers, according to the results of the ninth Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index, with spending in Dubai reaching $28.5 billion in 2016.
In addition, Dubai has also been able to attract the most famous brands in the retail sector, all of which were keen on choosing Dubai to find a foothold for themselves in the region. The desire by international brands to choose Dubai as a platform to promote their products follows extensive studies and tangible results on the ground by other brands who have previously taken the decision to enter Dubai, as well as the benefits that companies can derive in light of the reputation Dubai enjoys in the global community.
One might wonder how Dubai became such an important global shopping destination in such a short space of time, keeping second place as the world's most important shopping destination behind London for the sixth consecutive year, according to a report by CBRE Global Real Estate Consultants, as well as coming third in the list of markets targeted by new brands. The answer lies in the fact that Dubai welcomed 59 new brands to the market in 2016, only behind London with 65 and Hong Kong, which topped the list with 78.
Dubai is constantly looking at ways of providing a lot of incentives and opportunities for growth and development, and in next to no time it announces a major project, a new shopping destination or pioneering initiative that enhance its global standing. At the same time, there is significant interest in e-commerce with the arrival of Amazon.com in the region, its acquisition of Souq.com, and the creation of Noon.com, which will contribute to forming a platform for growth in e-commerce and online shopping, which has developed rapidly over the past decade. The UAE's e-retail sector is expected to grow by a compound annual growth rate of 24 per cent at constant prices, reaching Dh14.1 billion by 2021, which is due to the activity of well-known e-commerce players and traders, in addition to launching a variety of initiatives that increase customers and consumer engagement in e-commerce.
With the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of Dubai Tourism, realising the significance of this sector and its impact on tourism, the DFRE launched the annual Retail Calendar in Dubai late last year, so as to feature several important seasons. Such an initiative has allowed retailers to offer major discounts and gives shoppers the opportunity to get high-quality products at very competitive prices, sometimes with discounts of over 80 per cent. The spring/summer collection was launched in February, while the autumn/winter collection was launched this September, which allowed the trade to showcase the latest clothing lines, accessories, bags and footwear from famous global brands to Dubai's fashion-conscious shoppers. Furthermore, Dubai has become the fashion capital of the region which caught the attention of the biggest retail companies and influenced them to launch their collections for the first time at a regional level.
Shopping remains an important choice for international visitors to Dubai, who have spent $28.5 billion over the past year. These seasonal promotions are additional attractions to enable shoppers to purchase luxury goods at competitive prices and spend their time in a rewarding and exciting way throughout their stay in Dubai.
Dubai has been able to attract several new brands at a regional level, some of which are exclusively located in the emirate.
The writer is the executive director of retail and strategic alliances at the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment, an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.