Image Credit: Gulf News archives

As the holy month of Ramadan comes to an end, retailers across the UAE are gearing up to cater for the wave of last-minute shoppers. Festive cheer is palpable in and around malls and other retail destinations as people rush to wrap up their Eid shopping amid promotional activities.

A recent study by insurance provider GIG Gulf and data analytics firm YouGov highlights that shoppers in the GCC are ready to splurge more on gifts, food and other festive purchases this Eid than last year, but a majority – nearly 75 per cent buyers – are looking for bargains and promotions to manage their expenses.

Ashutosh Chakradeo, Chief Retail Officer – GCC, Choithrams

“There is a positive momentum for Ramadan this year and customers are spending more compared to 2022,” says Ashutosh Chakradeo, Chief Retail Officer – GCC, Choithrams. “Gifting continues to have a strong growth trend with categories such as chocolate and nuts dominating festive shopping followed by traditional Ramadan and Eid grocery categories.”

Grocery retail sees traction

UAE retailers have rolled out special product ranges, gifting packs and shopping deals for Eid to help consumers get into the festive spirit and mark the occasion in a meaningful way.

“Choithrams has launched branded festive chocolates for Eid gifting, which are available at select stores, in addition to its existing ranges of dry fruits, Eid gift hampers and decorations,” says Chakradeo.

“We have also introduced Zakat rice bags, biryani packs and Goodness Foods gift boxes to support donations in this holy month. During Eid, we also have special prices on gifting and grocery essentials, such as nuts, snacks, rice, fresh produce, perishable items and oils,” he adds.

As clothing, fashion and accessories take a significant share of Eid spend for most families, retailers go all out to attract customers. Shoppers will see bigger discounts and find a range of items on bargain and promotional offers this Eid. Regal Fabrics, one of the leading brands with a huge assortment of fabric choices, is offering a cashback of Dh25 for every Dh100 spent in Dubai and 25-70 per cent off in Sharjah.

“There is a noticeable increase in customer spending in our stores while our e-commerce platform is also gaining traction,” says Prakash Asnani, Sales Director of Regal Fabrics, Dubai.

Prakash Asnani, Sales Director of Regal Fabrics, Dubai

Prakash Asnani, Sales Director of Regal Fabrics, Dubai

“The demand for sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton and cupro is high as consumers are becoming aware of the environmental impact of their choices. Customers are also looking for personalised experiences and customisation options when they purchase at our stores.”

Along with grocery and apparel, festive-induced shopping drives up demand in the home decor segment as well, with furniture and interior retailers expecting brisk business before and during Eid.

Adriana Kostic, Head – Marketing, PAN Emirates

“This year, we’ve noticed a significant uptake in sales throughout Ramadan as customers are eager to purchase furniture and accessories to update their homes and set the tone for the festivities,” says Adriana Kostic, Head – Marketing, PAN Emirates, which is running a special promotion at its stores and on the online channel.

“To make Eid shopping more special and budget-friendly for our customers, we are offering discounts of 30-70 per cent on everything, so customers can enjoy special savings while preparing for the festivities.”

While many shoppers are looking for savings by trading down and seeking value wherever they can find it, appetite for luxury and high-value items is strong this Eid.

“The spending patterns are more extravagant this year,” says Heer Lalwani, Head of Marketing for Retail and E-commerce, Royal Furniture. “People have understood the importance of spending on high-quality products and they aren’t shy of paying the extra buck for superior quality items.

“People are revamping their homes for Eid as families are getting together once again and celebrating the occasion in a big way after two years of muted celebrations.”

Royal Furniture has a special range of decor items for Ramadan and Eid created with the combination of white and gold. “Our collection is highlighted with mainstream furniture such as sofa sets, coffee tables and dining tables, in line with the trend where contemporary whites are accentuated with gold detailing. Most branches of Royal Furniture are offering up to 75 per cent off on customisable items,” says Lalwani.

With the vast majority of consumers opting for the convenience of online or click-and-collect, brands in the UAE are offering a truly omnichannel environment so that buyers seamlessly enjoy a holistic shopping experience during Eid across digital and physical channels.

Evolved buying habits

“We are now seeing a trend towards creating a better and personalised shopping experience in an omnichannel environment,” says Maria Stepchenkova, Communication and Interior Design Activity Leader, Al-Futtaim IKEA, UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Oman, which is offering up to 50 per cent off on selected products until the end of April.

Maria Stepchenkova, Communication and Interior Design Activity Leader, Al-Futtaim IKEA, UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Oman

Maria Stepchenkova, Communication and Interior Design Activity Leader, Al-Futtaim IKEA, UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Oman

“While this trend started last year, it is now at its peak and many retailers, big and small, are sharpening their onmichannel strategies to create the best shopping experience for customers.” ■