Category Archives: Abu Dhabi

2013 – UAE retail sector set to flourish

Mall of the Emirates Sacha Orloff 2012By Wam

In 2011, the UAE was rated by Forbes magazine as the world’s sixth wealthiest nation by GDP per capita income, surpassing most developed economies. This means the country is on the top in terms of purchasing power, which is playing a crucial role in keeping the domestic retail sector one of the world’s busiest and most vibrant.

With the announcement of new mega-projects in Dubai, with shopping malls and online market services continuing to mushroom, the domestic economy remaining strong and inflation dipping to a minimal level, experts believe the UAE’s retail sector will steam ahead in the next years. What will give this sector an additional momentum is the sophisticated shopping infrastructure in the country and the so-called Arab Spring, which is luring more tourists into Dubai and the rest of the UAE.

The UAE’s high purchasing power is reflected in its massive family consumption, which involves individual spending on consumer items and services. Formerly second only to Saudi Arabia in the Arab region, the UAE jumped to the top position in 2010, when family consumption stood at Dh575 billion. It maintained that rank in 2011 as consumption leaped to nearly Dh640 billion, more than 15 per cent of the total family consumption in the 21-nation Arab League, according to official Arab data.

The steady surge in family consumption in the UAE, mainly a result of the high per capita income, was manifested in the rapid growth in the retail and wholesale sector’s contribution to GDP over the past years.

Trade to GDP

From around Dh67 billion in 2001, the value of that contribution leaped to Dh90 billion in 2005 and Dh134 billion in 2009. It swelled to Dh138 billion in 2010 before hitting an all time high of around Dh146 billion in 2011. The rise boosted the trade sector’s share of the overall GDP to one of its highest levels of around 11.7 per cent to maintain its position as the second largest component of GDP after the hydrocarbon sector.

“The retail sector in the UAE has grown so fast over the past years that it has become a major contributor to the non-oil economy this growth was driven by many factors, including the presence of a sophisticated shopping infrastructure, the organisation of too many events and occasions every year and the opening of scores of malls and other shopping outlets,” said Mohammed Al Awadi, a prominent businessman in Abu Dhabi. “Other factors include the demographic diversity in the UAE as there are nearly 150 nationalities and cultures this means we are talking about 150 different tastes another major factor is the strong tourism sector in the country, mainly Dubai, which has become one of the world’s dominant retail business destinations,” said Awadi, who controls a big chain of jewellery shops in the country.

Awadi, a former head of the trade committee in the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said he expected the retail activity in the UAE to pick up in the coming years because of the steady population growth, the high per capita and purchasing power, strong economic growth and plans for new mega-projects in Dubai.

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Luxury retail spending on the rise in the Middle East

By Andy Sambidge

Spending on premium goods and experiences by consumers in the Middle East is on the rise, according to a research on Luxury Spending Tracker.

The tracker said that in all markets except the UAE, consumers plan to increase spending on luxury goods and experiences through to the end of 2012, as their personal circumstances improve. It surveyed a random sample of 1,000 residents drawn from Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and the UAE.

It found that residents of Qatar are the biggest buyers of luxury goods across the Middle East, closely followed by consumers in Bahrain.

It said Qataris spend up to $5,000 a month on luxury goods, while consumers in Oman and Jordan are the most conservative shoppers in the region – spending less than $250 per month.

“Consumer attitudes towards spending have begun to improve significantly and there is a noticeable rise in spending on luxury goods and experiences across the region,” said Mazin Khoury, CEO, American Express Middle East.

Luxury products such as cars, high end electronic goods and fashion accessories were identified by respondents as preferred purchases over experiential luxury such as holidays and spa treatments this year.

Fashion topped the list of preferred purchases in 2012, with 37 percent of respondents saying they enjoy shopping for fashion-related items.

Cars were also a leading luxury purchase in 2012, with 31 percent of respondents planning to buy new vehicles this year.

Automobile purchases were highest in the UAE with 42 percent looking to buy new cars in 2012, compared to only 24 percent of Bahraini respondents.

Consumer spending on food and dining out was also highest in the UAE, a likely reflection of the considerable array of international dining options in the country, the tracker showed.

Consumers said Dubai was the region’s prime location for purchasing branded luxury products, selected by 65 percent of respondents.

The emirate was named the preferred shopping destination by 88 percent of respondents from the UAE, 81 percent from Oman, 78 percent from Bahrain and 67 percent from Qatar.

Khoury added: “The inclination towards acquiring tangible luxury goods as opposed to participating in luxury experiences is in keeping with the new consumer sentiment that demands greater value for money.

“Tangible luxury offers greater perceived value as consumers can experience the rewards for their investment over a longer period.”

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Picture– © and credit to Faran Niaz 2012

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EVENT – The Role of Conspicuous Consumption in Today’s Society – Seminar











The Role of Conspicuous Consumption in Today’s Society
6 November 2012,  3-5 pm – Hilton Metropole, Brighton BN1 2FU
University of Brigthon :

You are warmly invited to participate in the seminar ‘Beyond Bling: The role of conspicuous consumption in today’s society’ funded by the ESRC Festival of Social Science and hosted by Brighton Business School, University of Brighton.

The growing economic and social importance of conspicuous consumption has become a striking feature of the new consumerist societies. The supply of products and services marketed as symbols of social identity and style now represents a significant part of overall economic and commercial activity.

The seminar will bring together practitioners and researchers from sociology, business management and psychology to discuss the effect of conspicuous consumption on present day society. Seminar participants will benefit from sharing experiences with fellow practitioners and learning from cutting-edge research presentations by academics. The seminar aims to showcase the research from Brighton and will also act as a platform for future collaborations between practitioners and researchers.

Topics and speakers:

The changing face of conspicuous consumption in the UK and Middle East

Alexandra de Kerros Boudkov Orloff, CEO of Sacha Orloff Consulting Group, will draw on her own experiences to discuss ostentation among British and Arabic consumers over the past decade.

How do luxury brands promote conspicuous consumption?

Professor Christopher Moore, Glasgow Calidonian University, will discuss the conspicuous triggers used by luxury brands which influence decision making and purchase decisions among consumers.

Conspicuous consumption and value perceptions in developed and emerging markets

Dr Paurav Shukla, University of Brighton, will present his latest research on conspicuous consumption using comparative quantitative data from several developed and emerging markets.

Speaker biographies

Alexandra de Kerros Boudkov Orloff
CEO and Founder of Sacha Orloff Consulting Group.

Prior to founding Sacha Orloff Consulting Group in 2005, she was Managing Director of de Grisogono and part of Senior Management at Groupe Horloger Breguet and Swatch Group; GM of the International Television and Symposium Exhibition in Switzerland and Japan. With over twenty years in the luxury and retail industry, Alexandra brings a wealth of expertise to brand development strategy; restructuration; investments and acquisitions, and, operational performance.

Sacha Orloff Consulting Group is one of the sole consulting companies whose core expertise operates in the service and retail industry, specializing in serving the high-growth potential of GCC and Middle Eastern markets. Sacha Orloff Consulting Group works alongside leading businesses to develop and implement customized solutions, considering technology, innovation, trends and timing that address today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities.

Professor Christopher Moore
Vice Dean of the Glasgow Caledonian Business School.

Prior to his appointment at GCU, Professor Moore was Chair in Marketing and Head of the Department of Management at Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh. Professor Moore has held visiting Professorial appointments at a number of Universities, including the Universities of Manchester, Surrey, Northumbria and Robert Gordon in Aberdeen. A graduate of the Universities of Glasgow and Stirling, his doctoral research was in the area of international fashion brand marketing.

His current research interests include retailer internationalization; luxury brand marketing and trends and developments in youth consumption. Professor Moore has provided consulting and commissioned research services to a wide range of retailers, financial service institutions, media companies and other consumer-facing organisations in the areas of brand management, marketing strategy and consumer intelligence management.

Dr. Paurav Shukla
Reader in Marketing at the University of Brighton Business School.

He possesses wide range of industry and academic experience from middle to senior level in healthcare and media industries. He has been delivering corporate training, teaching and consulting assignments for various organizations in the Europe, Asia and North Africa. Paurav has been involved with various EU funded research projects involving several nations from EU and Asia. He is associated with several academic institutions and corporate organizations including not for profit organizations in the capacity of advisor and board of directors.

His research interests include cross-cultural consumer behaviour, luxury marketing and branding, consumption experiences and marketing issues in emerging markets. He has published on these topics in a wide range of outlets including top peer reviewed journals, international conferences and main stream media including the Woman’s Wear Daily, Business Week, Luxury Society, and National Post of Canada among others.

To confirm your attendance at this free event please email Chris Matthews:

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Abu Dhabi Duty Free soaring with Luxury Goods

By Rory Jones

Gold, cigars and luxury brands boosted revenues at Abu Dhabi Duty Free by 29 per cent in the first half of the year to Dh380 million (US$103.4m).

The airport retailer experienced record-breaking second-quarter sales and outperformed the passenger traffic rise at Abu Dhabi International Airport in the first half, which increased 22.8 per cent.

The first-half figures for duty free represent a 29.1 rise on the corresponding period last year.

“The continued dynamic growth of the second-quarter sales is due to a combination of factors. [Abu Dhabi Airport Company’s] core objective is to continuously invest in passenger amenities, levels of customer service and real innovation and exclusivity within [its] retail offering,” said Mohammed Al Bulooki, the chief commercial officer at Abu Dhabi Airports Company (Adac). The company said the luxury brands Burberry, Hermes and Bulgari had all performed strongly, as well as food, cigars and perfume.

“Abu Dhabi Duty Free is launching exclusive products, specifically within perfume and cosmetics, and these are really paying dividends,” said Mr Al Bulooki.

The spend per passenger grew by 8.3 per cent in the first six months of the year compared with last year. “It is very satisfying that [Abu Dhabi Duty Free] has maintained its growth above passenger growth, which is a credit to Adac’s retail partners,” Mr Al Bulooki added.

Abu Dhabi Duty Free is forecasting sales of more than Dh770m for the full year, which would be a record for the company. Adac announced this week 7 million passengers passed through the airport in the first half.

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