Dubai: Nearly two in ten Emiratis go to a shopping mall almost every day, while the majority of UAE residents spend between Dh100 and Dh500 per trip, according to a new study.
In a survey among 1,000 residents in the UAE, research company YouGov found that about six in ten people in the country pop into a shopping centre at least once a week, to either buy clothes and other merchandise, eat or have coffee at a restaurant and spend time with family and friends.
The most avid mall-goers appear to be the Emiratis, with 20 per cent of them saying they visit a mall more than five times a week and 21 per cent saying they check out more than five different places each month.
The UAE is a growing shoppers’ paradise, where malls have mushroomed in recent years and developers invested millions of dirhams in retail expansion projects. As of the end of 2013, Dubai's mall supply reached 2.5 million square meters of gross leasable area, according to Colliers International. However, more shopping space has been added since then.
The Mall of the Emirates has recently unveiled its expansion project, while the world’s largest, Dubai Mall is currently working to add more retail space.
The Beach in Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), a beachfront mall, is among the latest retail destinations to open to the public, offering dozens of retail, food and beverage, and entertainment options.
A key upcoming mall to watch out for is The Pointe at Palm Jumeirah, whose retail area, when added to the size of The Beach and Dubai Mall's expansion, is expected to increase Dubai's shopping space by approximately 369,000 square metres.
“Malls are an intrinsic part of the fabric of everyday life in regions such as Saudi Arabia and here in the UAE. Clearly the frequency of visits is on the rise and this is a welcome sign for the malls, retailers and for the UAE economy,” said Simon Wilcock, Chief Executive Officer of Arabian Centres.
Currently, nearly half (42 per cent) of UAE residents reported going to the mall once or twice a week, with 13 per cent visiting 2-5 times a week and 7 per cent saying they go more than five times a week.
Western expats are the most infrequent visitors to malls with just one per cent saying they visit a mall more than five times a month.
Most UAE residents (54%) spend between Dh100 and 500 per mall visit, with shopping for clothes and goods (43%) cited as the main attraction. Spending time with family (11%) and eating and dining out (10%) were the next biggest draws for UAE mall visitors.
The variety of retail outlets (50%) ranked as the most important factor when it comes to choosing a mall, followed by location (36%) and the quality of retail outlets (31%). Of those surveyed, an overwhelming majority (82%) said they would like to see more home-grown brands in the UAE malls.