Welcome to Dubai where shopping is a community activity

Residents participate enthusiastically as retail experiences take forward everyday multi-cultural and pluralistic touchpoints and integrate them with a consumer lifestyle

File photo
File photo

Published: Wed 1 Dec 2021, 12:01 AM

For a long time, Dubai has been up there in the pecking order when it comes to top stakes in the domain of shopping destinations around the world. It ranks alongside — and (many feel) probably outshines — big names such as New York, London and Paris. There are almost no brands that are not present here; what’s more, ‘international’ brands jostle for space along with regional, local and exclusive south Asian ones, making the shopping menu a very holistic one. In fact, a common perception is: there’s nothing from anywhere in the world that you will not get here — which probably grants Dubai its extra special identity as a shopping hub.

Just like the city, the shopping experience is a carefully-curated one: even if you are not a compulsive shopper, you can partake of an unbeatable ambience. Bucking the narrow trend of consumerism, there is a plethora of engagements — more like celebrations of life — that goes way beyond just points of sale: cultural events, business opportunities, innovations, life-changing mega raffles, fireworks and general gaiety.

As a pointer to how important the consumer experience is for the emirate and how keen its leaders are to not lose sight of that — even at a time when Expo2020 is on in full swing — next year’s list of shopping bonanzas has already been announced. From the 15th of this month till the 29th of January 2022 is a span that’s been earmarked for the Dubai Shopping Festival.

The day after marks the advent of the Chinese New Year celebrations, which is followed shortly by the Dubai Food Festival (how does a food festival qualify as ‘shopping’ one may wonder — but that’s how syncretic the consumer experience is here). The series of “occasions” will go right up till the end of 2022.

It’s also critical to understand how much shopping in Dubai has to do with the physicality of the retail sector. The world over, retail is moving online; a fair slice of the pie has moved online in the UAE as well, but when experiential shopping festivals come up, consumers are immediately tempted to step out, socialise and bond, and relive human values while actually visiting places in person. The best part about shopping in Dubai is that it’s not only a ‘touristy’ thing.

Residents too participate enthusiastically since retail experiences take forward everyday multi-cultural and pluralistic touchpoints and integrate them with ‘a consumer lifestyle’. Shopping is a like a community activity in Dubai, where everyone is like a big family. As Dubai readies itself to get into the shopping groove in right earnest, it’s time once again to feel at one with humanity.

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