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The future of the retail market in the UAE


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UAE is one of the most sought-after destinations for global retail players. Backed by a very high number of expatriate population, the retail industry is seeing strong growth in the land of Emirates. In the Middle East, the retail sector has been one of the fastest-growing sectors and the region has been ranked as the eighth most attractive market globally. The UAE’s leapfrogging into the top tier of the global rankings of the prime destinations is just a reward for all the efforts that are put in by the mall developers.

Post pandemic as the consumers is forced into isolation, a lot of changes have been observed. Consumers are hair dying to keep greys at bay from home, gym equipment are been ordered to continue keeping fit at home, desks, screens, and keyboards are ordered to allow them to work from home and whatnot. All this is leading to the rise of eCommerce in the UAE especially.

The question now being asked is what is the future of the retail market in the UAE. So, let us look at some future aspects of the retail industry in the UAE:


Shopping in China shares some of the same cultural traits as that of the UAE. Online shopping is quite convenient but it lacks the social elements of stepping out and visiting a market. So, there are apps that are launched in the market which give you a 3D shopping experience and make you feel as if you are moving around


Interaction with storekeepers and customer service has often differentiated brands in the market. Getting a call from your favourite shop store and they letting you know that some choice of product has just arrived, makes the customers feel special. Also, in case they say that they will be keeping some aside for you, drives consumer loyalty and binds buyers to brands. This is why data-driven communication is important as it keeps customers in the loop and the customer retention rate also improves day by day.


Nowadays we have seen the trend of bricks and mortar retailers who use their stores as showrooms for displaying products. They design their showrooms in a way that showcases their brand ethos and values. They are also very keen to retain customer engagement. So, this is showrooming and brands do it to attract buyers. Home to a young, self-aware, and tech-savvy population in the UAE, consumers are beyond your imagination, active social media users.

Not just this, we are anticipating seeing more brands deploy social media influencers as well as ambassadors. They do so to livestream in-store events that capture large eyeballs. Those events could be fashion shows, launches or tie-ups, and collaborations. Livestream has always been seen as the spiritual successor to reality TV and it always works no matter what the brand industry is.


Whilst we do believe that COVID-19 and the pandemic all around the world have forced consumers to switch to online options, physical shopping is something that’s staying for long. Just because of all this, the stimulated retailers would be seen adopting serious strategies in the UAE which drive customers in their stores. The uniqueness of the people’s attitude towards shopping and the activity’s social and cultural significance cannot be ignored and this will be taken care of by retailers.

Shopping malls are not just places for buying things but they act as tourist destinations and meeting places. In addition to this, retailers acting as franchisees will be very keen to retain a direct link with the shoppers. We will foresee all of these vectors influencing how exactly the technology impacts retail in the UAE in the coming years.


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