Dubai: It’s hard to believe that yet another summer is among us in Dubai and we are finally welcoming the return of the famous annual shopping festival - Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS). Already in its 23rd year, this one is particularly special because in a way, it is a symbol of life returning (almost) back to normal in Dubai.
Shopping in Dubai is different than any other city. The huge malls, the amazing collections and the noteworthy sales. We head down to Mall of the Emirates to check out the 12-hour sale, the mega shopping event that kicks off Dubai Summer Surprises. The 7-week long shopping bonanza will offer amazing discounts, daily deals and plenty of activities for the kids to enjoy.
The citywide mega-event kicked off on Thursday 9 July features seven full weeks of sales, deals, and promotions at Dubai’s malls, attractions as well as leisure destinations until August 29. Like all other shopping events in Dubai, DSS kicked off with a 12-hour sale, that will go on until 10pm on Thursday.
We head down to Mall of the Emirates to check out the 12-hour sale, the mega shopping event that kicks off Dubai Summer Surprises. The 7-week long shopping bonanza will offer amazing discounts, daily deals and plenty of activities for the kids to enjoy.
What can I expect at the 12-hour sale?
Hundreds of brands at MAF malls are taking part in the mega sale today. The discounts you can expect a range from 25 to 90 per cent. The 90 per cent range was a little rarer, but most stores were offering 50 to 70 per cent, which is still a pretty massive discount.
In case you haven't noticed, I go to every kickoff and final sale that takes place in Dubai, so every six months or so, I prep myself mentally and physically to tackle the sales, just so I can write this story.
Generally speaking, shopping during sales is a pretty exhausting feat. It's a hassle. Discounted clothes tend to be treated like cattle. Shoved onto one rack and it's you and your patience to rifle through everything.
Additionally, shops are busy, parking spots get filled up quickly and you can't just aimlessly wander around. You need a plan.
I am here to help you with this plan. To tell you exactly what is discounted and how you can prepare for the kick-off sale taking place today.
Can I win something?
Yes. Those who spend Dh300 will enter the 12 Hour Share Millionaire raffle with a grand lucky draw for 1 million Share Points to spend in MAF malls.
Which malls are participating is the DSS 12 hour kick off sale?
All Majid Al Futtaim malls including Mall of the Emirates, City Centre Deira , City Centre Mirdif , City Centre Me’Aisem and City Centre Al Shindagha.
I decided to go to Mall of the Emirates, since it is one of the larged MAF malls in Dubai and will have the most stores and possibly the larger crowd of shoppers.
What was my shopping experience like?
First of all, parking is free, for as long as you want. Because it's a special DSS day, so luckily, you don't have to worry about paying for parking. It's a ticketless entrance and exit.
I arrived at the Mall of the Emirates at around 11.15am. A little bit of a rookie mistake here, since the 10am crowd already arrived and got the best parking spots.
The moment I walked in, I spotted something you rarely see in Dubai. A line of approximately 40 people waiting outside of a designer store. After closer investigation, I saw that Chanel was having a 40 per cent sale on shoes and accessories. Some handbags and wallets included. This was an unusual phenomenon. Chanel rarely has a sale, so people were understandably excited and lined up outside of the store as I had never seen in Dubai before.
I wondered, if Chanel is on sale, what else would be?
Here we go: What is on sale?
Most electronics shops don't really discount their items. This is always the case for some reason. They have special offers like "win this or that" of you spend more than x amount, but if you wanted to take advantage of an amazing sale on electronics, your go-to should be Carrefour. I spotted many laptops for under Dh1,000 for those looking to improve their work from home experience.
That's mainly what the sales are about. Some high-end designer stores like Chanel, Coach, Michael Kors and Salvatore Ferragamo participated in the event, however, most other high-end stores did not. Many affordable fast fashion brands took part. Massimo Dutti, American Eagle, Mango, H&M and Forever 21 were among the most crowded and popular stores.
The most common discount bracket is between 40 per cent to 50 per cent. Some stores are up to 75 per cent and there were the odd 90 per cent discount around, but honestly less frequent.
My favourites were the stores that were offering a flat 50 per cent off. These included Clark's, Naturaliser, Toms and more.
For some reason, eyewear stood out as some of the best deals to me. Many spots had a buy one get one offer, while plenty of other eyeglasses stores were offering great discounts up to 75 per cent off.
Honestly, this may just be the perfect time to buy your home furnishing. Home Center, Crate and Barrel and Chattels & More had some of the best discounts there.
I missed the 12 Hour Sale.... what else can I do?
Don't worry. The 12-Hour Sale was just a way to start DSS with a bang. For the next seven weeks, you will be able to shop your favourite brands at a highly discounted rate, as well as daily surprises. You can also benefit from hotel staycation offers, food deals, free shows, performances and a weekend of fireworks to say the least.
Things to know before you shop
Evaluate your closet and home
You don’t want to buy something just because it’s on sale. Take your time and really look at your closet, look around your home to see what is missing and what you really need. Then make a list of exactly what your shopping requirements are and try not to get distracted. If you are serious about shopping, then browse online to see what kind of products you want.
Make smart investments. Consider the gaps in your life (wardrobe, electronics and homeware) that need filling.
Get there in the morning
Arrive early. If you want to avoid being stuck in the mall parking, standing in line at the changing rooms or the cashier, then arrive by 9am, have breakfast at the mall and start tackling the shops. Those who get there early will be able to shop in peace and find a parking spot easily.
Dress the part
It is one of the most crowded shopping days of the year, so wear comfortable clothes and shoes to be able to move as much as you can without feeling discomfort.
Make sure you also wear your mask and maintain social distancing.
Plan your route
There are over 500 brands taking part in this edition of DSS including many malls in Dubai. It is important to work your way through the different malls. Start with the furthest from your house and move closer and closer.
Always try things on
As tempting as it is to just leave the store with your purchase without lining up at the fitting room, resist the urge. Knowing how things look on will save a lot of headache, if the item does not fit well. If you can't line up for ages, instead just make sure you wear something light that you can throw clothes on easily. I personally tried things on in the middle of the store, by wearing them on top of the clothes I was wearing.
Pick up whatever you like and edit later
When I shop, I grab everything that I like, even if I just half like it and I try it on. In the changing room is where I edit down my choices to see what is really worth it. You don't want to have buyers remorse.
Honestly tell yourself: No matter how much an item is discounted, only buy what you need, not because something is on sale.
Nothing is a bargain if it is simply going to hang in the back of your closet, unworn. Many people only wear 25 per cent of their closet, so make sure for your sake and for the sake of the environment that you buy something that you will really wear.
Check the return policy
Clearance purchases are often a great deal, but make sure you read about the return and refund. Finding an affordable top for Dh25 is great, but not if you can’t return it if it doesn’t fit. Always ask about the sale item return policy.
Remember: You don’t have to spend a lot of money to look great and to get what you need. Be smart about your purchases.
Make the most of the mall services
Dubai’s malls offer a host of services such as free Wi-Fi and valet services, mobile charging stations and EZ Taxis, at a cost, to make the experience easy. There’s the complimentary 'Shop Hands-Free' at MAF malls, so you aren't carrying a while bunch of stuff while trying to navigate your way through the racks.