Dubai: Local companies and mall owners have reaped the benefits of a strong marketing approach during this year's Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF).
A strong focus on advertising and promotions helped many brands to boost their revenues over the last month whereas many shopping malls experienced a huge increase in footfall, partly due to the fact that they offered a range of competitions and live performances.
DSF, which came to an end earlier this week, is one of the key trading periods for many retailers in Dubai with thousands of people descending on the city each year in search of a bargain.
Suhaib Abdullakutty, English Publications Editor at the Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment, the organisers of DSF, said marketing and advertising were key to DSF's success as they determined the reach of the festival in its target markets.
"Each year, a comprehensive study is done on target markets and a detailed marketing plan is drawn up based on the outcome of research. These outcomes are integral in defining how and where DSF is promoted," he said.
"The response so far from retail and hospitality sectors has been positive from estimates of footfall and occupancy. We will only have a complete picture when figures from various sources are consolidated," he added.
Many of Dubai's major shopping malls have also said that early indicators suggest this year's DSF has been very good for business.
Majid Al Futtaim Properties, which owns Mall of the Emirates, has sponsored DSF for more than a decade. The mall's promotions this year included a campaign where shoppers could win an all expenses paid trip to Paris.
Fouad Mansour Sharaf, Vice-President of Mall of the Emirates, said this year's festival had definitely been a success. "There is no doubt that footfall has increased since last year at Mall of the Emirates. We believe this is because of a number of factors such as an increase in consumer confidence and the entertainment that we provided during DSF."
Tourists tip scale
Rana Jaser, PR and Corporate Communications Manager at Mercato, said the festival had helped to revive the country's retail sector. "We have witnessed an increase in tourist numbers over the last month, especially from guests who arrived in Dubai via Port Rashid.
"Many of this year's sales were conducted by international brands who have branches in many of the city's major shopping malls. Therefore, in order to tempt residents, it is important to capture their imagination with a live performance or unmissable competition."
Some of DSF's key sponsors also reaped the benefits of associating themselves with the brand.
Deepak Khetrapal, CEO of Jumbo Electronics, said an increase in sales of flat panel televisions and tablets — such as Apple's iPad and Samsung's Galaxy S — helped the company to enjoy double-digit growth. "It has been a successful DSF with footfall consisting of both residents and tourists. Smart phones have driven the bulk of growth and consumer interest," he said.
"Prior to DSF we predicted a growth in sales of approximately 25 per cent. The festival got off to a slow start but it soon picked up momentum and delivered healthy growth of around 25 per cent. What worked to our benefit this year is that we launched three promotions for every week of the festival, which gave consumers more reason to come back to our stores," he added.
Hugh Dickerson, Senior General Manager of Sales and Marketing at Al Futtaim Motors, said the fact that DSF takes place early in the year is a great boost to retailers. "It is always good to get the year off to a great start and clearly DSF is synonymous with fantastic offers. Motor vehicles are no exception and we had a number of special prices on selected cars throughout DSF."