Stock - Dubai shopping
What will shoppers be picking up this 3-day mega-sale in Dubai? Fashion and accessories could be an early winner as retailer discounts go big and wide. Up to 90 per cent big. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: Shoppers are in the mood to pick up more stuff as malls and stores in Dubai get ready for a 3-day super-sale starting Friday (May 26). With discounts offering extending up to 90 per cent, retailers are making sure they give every reason for shoppers to show up from 10am.

For many shoppers, this is a chance to buy at lower prices ahead of their vacations, with retailer sources saying that prices on fashion and accessories will be the one category to show off some of the highest discounts.

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The month-end shopping bonanza also comes at a time when the prevailing sentiment among UAE consumers is ‘feeling good’ rather than the caution that was dominant during the last few weeks of 2022 and extending into the first quarter of this year.

But something changed during the run up to the Eid holidays in April. “There was a rush of buying that had more to do than just the discounts and offers at the time,” said a retailer. “It did seem there was a lot of pent up buying happening as shoppers felt more confident that the talk about a global recession was not going to happen any time soon.”

Each week sees new homes being delivered to a buyer or tenant. All of which requires new TVs, home appliances, other gadgets.

Every category of the retail and service industry benefitted, these sources add. Car dealerships had one of their best months; sales of electronics and home appliances soared; and shoppers were picking up the latest fashion collections (whatever the price). F&B outlets may talk about having to cope with higher food prices and rents, but there is no shortage of patrons turning up.

If discounts were added to the mix, that helped too.

“One in 2 consumers in the UAE engage in shopping activities at least once a week,” said Nacho San Martin, Managing Director – MENA at the consultancy GfK. “Nearly 60 per cent of UAE consumers agree that one of the significant factors they consider when choosing a brand is its ability to offer excellent value for the money.

“This demonstrates that consumers look to cash in on deals across sectors and prioritize obtaining the best value for their money.”

This weekend, brands and malls are doubling down on the promise of offering value. Backed by discounts.

Peak season sales do act as a growth catalyst, contributing to a revenue generation of 7–15%. The Dubai Shopping Festival 2023 saw a 7% improvement in revenue generation and the Cyber Monday promotional period grew 14% year-on-year

- Nacho San Martin of GfK

Close to Eid’s deals

This weekend’s mega-promotions are running close to the heavy shopping activity that already took place late April during the Eid phase. Retailers though are confident shoppers will still be turning up.

Another round of smartphone buying

“Fashion should again prove another winner, but there is still so much demand for electronics,” said a gadget retailer. “The smartphone prices – even on flagship launches as recent as a month or so ago – have dropped as part of promotions.”

Ashish Panjabi, the Chief Operating Officer at Jacky’s, is definitely feeling the buzz of buying.

“Demand still remains steady (for smartphones),” said Panjabi. “If nothing else, the replacement cycle is big enough to ensure there is a constant demand.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 sales have actually been quite strong. It has been a good year for this flagship - in this region at least. The S23 Ultra especially has been moving best.

- Ashish Panjabi

A time for foldables

Within smartphones, the latest iterations of foldable models are starting to get a serious look-in from shoppers. If it was seen as more of a fancy gadget earlier, the foldable is getting close to going mainstream. Huawei’s Mate X3 is catching the eye, while Honor is another apart from Samsung that’s got points to win on foldables. (Retailers say they are just waiting for pricing to go slightly more ‘mainstream’ to really get the volumes working.)

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Someone moving in

And then there is all the action in Dubai and UAE’s property market. New residents keep moving into the country, existing ones are shifting to new homes (bought or rented), and these bring new needs in their wake.

Some of those needs could well be met during this 3-day mega-sale.

Another good weekend for UAE F&B?
Every other week now seems another round of growth for the majority of F&B businesses in the UAE. Food halls, fast-food service counters, or occasions for a dining out, all are packed.

George Kunnappally of Nando's UAE says the F&B industry is moving through a loop of good times.

"In the past, high net worth individuals and families moved to Dubai from conflict zones or during periods of global challenges. This time, we are seeing career professionals and mid-income families alike moving to Dubai from all over the world to build a life and future in the city. This has led to a boost in business - not just in transaction value but also transaction counts - for restaurants and other essential services.

With UAE’s population crossing 10 million and overnight foreign visitors at an all-time high, we are confident 2023 will be better than 2022 in like-for-like top-line revenue.

- George Kunnappally