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Dubai’s retail market grows to US$35bn in 2015

epa01238183 People are shopping during the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) 2008 which runs from 24 January to 24 February, at the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, 28 January 2008. The Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) started in 1996 as a retail event intended to revitalise retail trade in Dubai. It has since been promoted as an tourist attraction. This yearly month long event is usually scheduled during the first quarter of the year, attracting about 3 million people to Dubai. During DSF, shops offer deep discounts on their merchandise, daily car raffles are drawn. Tourists from all around the world are lured not only for Dubai's tax free shopping, but also for all of the events that take place during the festival.  EPA/ALI HAIDER

Dubai / WAM

Dubai’s retailing market size in 2015 is estimated to have reached US$35.4 billion, witnessing sustained annual growth rates of 3.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent since 2010, according to an analysis by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry based on data from Euromonitor International, prepared ahead of the World Retail Congress which will take place next week.
Consumer spending is expected to support the retailing activity to expand by 7.7 per cent in 2016, with growth thereafter at a CAGR of 8.1 per cent until 2020, when retailing sales turnover are expected to surpass US$52 billion.
The analysis states that store-based retailing was behind 98 per cent of the total value of retailing in 2015, and its pace of growth has by large margin outpaced growth of the non-store retailing category since 2010.
“Growing economic prosperity, steady population growth, and rising incomes have all helped to increase consumers’ overall expenditure in Dubai. In addition, the boom in tourist numbers have kept the wholesale and retail sector vibrant. Dubai Chamber has encouraged the development of business in Dubai and promoted Dubai as an international business and retail centre. The Chamber’s research analyses have helped the business community in Dubai identify key market trends to chart their growth plans. The latest analysis on Dubai’s retail market offers vital insights on the prospects available for Dubai’s retail sector,” said Hamad Buamim, President and CEO, Dubai Chamber.
Categorising Dubai’s store-based retailing into non-grocery retail and grocery retail, the Dubai Chamber analysis has valued non-grocery retail at US$22.3 billion in 2015, and grocery retail at US$10.9 billion. It points out that non-grocery retail sales witnessed a strong compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.1 per cent, driven by growing demand which is backed by higher per capita incomes.
The analysis attributes Dubai’s trendy, youthful population as a major factor for this growth, considering that this segment of the population keeps up to date with the latest trends in many retail product categories such as apparel, footwear, health and beauty products, as well as luxury products. This has encouraged retailers to introduce new merchandise and expand their physical presence in recent years, leading to higher value growth, it states.
The analysis says that grocery retail saw a 6.8 per cent CAGR in sales over the period 2010-2015, mainly due to strong demand for convenient shopping formats such as convenience stores and supermarkets. This growth has been backed by strong real estate activity in the emirate, with the emerging trend showing that an increasing number of newly constructed office buildings have their own convenience stores, as they are seen as an attractive add-on amenity by prospective firms when considering moving to a new office location.
On the same note, a growing number of residential projects being delivered in the outskirts of Dubai are actually located relatively far from existing malls; this has attracted major supermarkets to open smaller outlets in those new areas to meet the increasing need for convenience shopping, the analysis points out.
Meanwhile, non-store retailing channels have enjoyed very rapid growth over the past five years, with a CAGR of 21 percent for the entire category, with internet retailing driving growth at an impressive CAGR of 23 percent.
The Dubai Chamber analysis estimates that both categories of retail will witness high levels of consumer spending in the medium term, inspired by the positive prospects for the Dubai economy. Non-grocery specialists, in particular, will benefit from the extra boost to demand stemming from the expected inflow of over 20 million tourists by the start of EXPO 2020.
According to the analysis, apparel and footwear retail outlets are set to lead growth in the medium run at a forecast CAGR of 6.6 per cent; which will keep it as the largest sub-segment under the non-grocery retailing category.
The remaining major sub-segments, such as electronics and appliances, health and beauty, home and garden, leisure and personal goods, are forecast to witness growth rates in the range of 3 per cent to 6 per cent over the same period.
Non-store retailing channels are forecast to witness rapid growth over the medium run with a CAGR of 19 per cent, with internet retailing, and in particular mobile internet retailing, leading sales with up to 34 per cent annual growth.
The analysis states that despite being the leading non-store retail channel in terms of growth, internet retailing remains at a very early stage of development, especially when considering that it only makes up less than 2 per cent of total retail sales value- a relatively low figure compared to other global markets.
On the back of rising household penetration of tablets and smartphones, as well as financial credit and prepared cards, local store-based retailers have the home ground advantage to tap into this small but promising channel, while keeping their in-store sales as the backbone of business, the analysis concludes.

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