Opportunities in the Retail Industry in the UAE

by Zaara 22, Feb 2022

One of the booming business markets is retail in today's overseas scenario. By 2023, the sector is expected to have a sum of US$29.76 trillion if we talk from the perspective of sales. It is said that the retail industry’s future is bright and will bring tremendous growth in the coming years. Understanding the potential that the retail sector contributes to improving a nation's economic development, the UAE government has taken the requisite measures to provide the retail segment with $13.7 billion.

As consumers become more aware of value and quality while also anticipating convenience, the retail sector in the UAE is experiencing a rapid transformation. Shopping is the primary component of the UAE's economy and accommodates the rich and affluent exceptionally well. In the UAE, about 100 malls cater to UAE citizens and visitors’ shopping needs. Retail stores tend to be effective businesses in most countries with a large population because they sell the items needed every day.

The UAE has proven to be one of the region's most desirable marketplaces for all retailers and offers good growth opportunities in all sectors. Expats from all over the world are being drawn to extend their careers. Businesses such as retail stores have always been popular and have emerged with a large population in most UAE areas as such companies provide essential items.

The Central Bank of the UAE has extended a helping hand to improve the retail market. The value hit AED 50.4 billion during the first nine months of 2019, a 5.4 per cent spike compared to the 2018 growth rate. This move has paved out multiple business opportunities for the business investors and owners who want to start a company in the UAE, in link with the retail industry. If you plan to incorporate a retail business in the UAE, this is the best time to give a kick-start.

Impact on the Retail Sector of the UAE

The Emirati Government's financial change would have a dramatic impact on the current retail market.

  • The retail sector will be the preferred choice for foreign investors.
  • A smart investment option before Expo 2020
  • The overall GCC industry is set to rise by 22% by 2023.
  • Enormous opportunities for various sectors to come forward with retail outlets

What Drives the Growth of the Retail Sector in the UAE?

The Emirates feeds incredibly well to those who want to pay high because shopping in UAE is essential to the economy. In the retail sector, two crucial activities draw tourists from around the world. The Dubai Shopping Festival is a monster sale of outlandish creations from January to February, where raffle awards can include kilos of gold or luxury cars as a backdrop, street fairs, fireworks and cultural events. During this DSF, about 30 percent of yearly retail sales are made. The celebration is so popular that a summer counterpart to the Dubai Summer Surprises, held from June to August, started in Dubai 18 years ago.

Another major festival hosts GITEX Shopper in Dubai, a bi-annual technology gathering, and gadget promotions for the hundreds and thousands who settle at the World Trade Centre in Dubai eager to get the offers. Still, it is not just the retail sector that dominates the malls. The city has moved from malls’ grandeur to more distinctive, boutique-style locations based on local talent and brands over the past year.

Opportunities in the Retail Industry

Retailing has seen a transformation over the past decade that its sheer scope has undergone a sea shift. A manufacturer can no longer rely on sales to take place by ensuring mere accessibility of his products. Today, retailing is about so much more than just merchandising. It's about casting clients in a plot, expressing their expectations and desires, and creating long-lasting relationships. As the customer grows, each time they walk into a shop, they demand more and more. Today, retail has moved from selling a product or service to selling a dream, a desire and, above all, an experience that a customer would like to replicate.

1. Digital Disruption

Consumer behaviour is rapidly evolving, and this is primarily due to e-exponential commerce's growth. Before they commit to a buying decision, consumers have several choices at their fingertips. Many sales are made online, but surveys show that customers tend to buy stuff at brick-and-mortar stores in person. It is usual for clients to study items online only to purchase in person. You should, therefore, see this as an opportunity rather than a sign of doom. Expanding your company into an online network is reasonably straightforward.

2. Finding technology solutions

Business owners have countless technology platform options that can streamline their companies and help scale them up. To optimise their processes, most retailers search for apps, but they also make the wrong choices. Business owners need to know what the app provides and suits their business model's needs. A complex and unwieldy software system would potentially raise costs and throw discord into an organisation that runs without it acceptably. Look for software specifically designed to deliver the best results for retail companies.

3. Maintaining your Customer Base

As consumers have so many more options available today, brand loyalty has become a much more popular concept. Making a sale without seeking to gain repeat business from the consumer is a common mistake. It is also a road to failure in today's market climate. Traditional consumer loyalty programmes such as exclusive deals and discounts are still popular, but now there is a growing customisation trend. It is necessary to maintain contact with customers to keep them loyal to your brand.

It's also important to note that most investors have a job where they need to provide customers with some kind of service, so they know what it's like on your side of the counter, and they expect your company to do that. Based on their past transactions, you can get to know your clients, and your employees can engage them in conversation and get a better understanding of who they are personally. If you operate in a large organisation, information is obtained from database analysis.

4. Evolving Customer Expectations

Changes in what clients want and expect will change far more rapidly than you could ever imagine. Retailers need to be wary of seasonal patterns and abrupt shifts in consumer buying preferences. Usually, a few seasonal updates to your product lineup are all it takes to keep your store on track. The most fruitful way to fix this issue is to always aim for inspiration.

5. Modern Marketing

Modern companies need to reach out to potential customers through many different platforms because of rapid digital marketing changes. Several methods, including email, social media and conventional paid advertising, need to be protected by multi-channel marketing. To create trust, consumers are becoming more used to a certain degree of one-on-one interaction that produces a more personal relationship.

Customer data should not be classed. It can happen if there is no efficient synchronisation of the various sections of the marketing department. If unnecessary notifications bombard clients because of inadequate communication mechanisms within an organisation, it is counterproductive. Efforts to engage consumers can backfire in this situation, leading them to seek out competitors. Marketing departments can prevent these kinds of blunders with the right technology solutions.

6. Inspiring and Retaining Employees

Historically, retail has had a high turnover rate for employees, which is still the case today. One of the retail store's biggest challenges is retaining a core of long-term workers. Reduced time and financial costs of recruiting and educating new workers are the advantages of this, and loyal staff are often happy team members who perform more on the job.

Growing interaction with workers by introducing frequent new training initiatives that can enhance their ability is one way to overcome this challenge. The method is automated with a solution like an HR management system.

7. Internal Communications

Organisations have increasingly complicated systems that need more advanced internal communication solutions as the retail industry becomes more complicated. This job, especially for medium-to-large organisations with many departments of the business, can be difficult. Needless to say, when internal interactions are unreliable, company practises become seriously compromised.

To streamline their internal communication processes, retailers have several choices available. Trying to rely on out-of-date strategies like Yahoo Mail or Outlook is the worst mistake. To optimise and incorporate business divisions and business processes, many retail businesses today take advantage of enterprise resource planning (ERP) programmes.

ERP systems can be the best way to address internal communication issues and coordinate business processes more efficiently through various organisation divisions. This software centralises contact and information handling for business. The platform will create and exchange reports with other divisions and simplify the tasks’ distribution between the business departments.


There is no doubt that one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors in the retail market. Like most developed countries, India's success also depends on its retail industry's growth. The UAE is becoming a competitive market, with many foreign brands entering India to capitalise on its growing consumption trend.

UAE's retail industry is undoubtedly inching its way to becoming the next boom sector with correct reforms and government initiatives. As more and more government initiatives have come into play, making it beneficial to do business, the retail industry’s future looks promising.

The study from AT Kearney indicates that the UAE is an attractive and low-risk business choice for retailers. A significant field is a retail and wholesale trade in the UAE. The Chamber of Commerce of Dubai points out that the UAE is cementing its position as a retail hub and is on the road to growth. In GCC countries, a lot of retail space is available, and many projects are underway.

Foreign players are growing their footprint, and current retailers are also expanding. So far, the region has been immune to declining oil prices. Some of the positive trends that have led to retail sales growth in the GCC region include economic development, ongoing diversification, and an increasing population, especially among high-worth individuals. It is advisable to have an online and offline presence to get the best of both worlds.

Please contact us if you are a foreign brand or an emerging player in the retail space and are looking for the business set-up consultancy.


How much the retail industry contributes to the GDP of Dubai?


What is the core pillar of the retail business in Dubai?

62% of retail brands in the world.

What is the expected growth in the retail business in Dubai after Expo 2020?

$70.5 billion by 2025.

How much growth has been seen in the online retail business in Dubai?


How many customers do the Dubai malls attract?

2.4 million Customers in 2021.