Shop­ping re­mains a favourite pas­time for UAE res­i­dents.

Gulf Marketing Review - - SECTOR ANALYSIS -

Abu Dhabi res­i­dents tend to be more fre­quent mall visi­tors, when com­pared with Dubai.

SHOP­PING RE­MAINS one of the favourite pas­times for UAE res­i­dents, as nearly one third of adults visit malls ev­ery week, re­veals the lat­est re­search data from TGI. Nearly 92 per cent of res­i­dents visit malls at least once ev­ery year.

Foot­fall is in­creas­ing at a phe­nom­e­nal rate, due to grow­ing tourism, un­der­ly­ing the UAE’s sta­tus as a lead­ing re­tail and leisure desti­na­tion.

Arabs and young­sters, aged 15 to 24 years, ex­hibit a higher propen­sity to­wards vis­it­ing malls reg­u­larly.

Abu Dhabi res­i­dents tend to be more fre­quent mall visi­tors, when com­pared with Dubai. Sim­i­larly, SEL B and C scores are reg­u­lar mall visi­tors, when com­pared with SEL A or SEL D.

The UAE is lead­ing in credit card us­age, where pen­e­tra­tion is nearly 60 per cent. How­ever, only 26 per cent of adults own a credit card.

The grow­ing use of the in­ter­net is also hav­ing an im­pact on the pur­chase de­ci­sions of shop­pers. In­ter­net us­age in the UAE is cur­rently at 84 per cent, and al­though this will af­fect shop­ping, it should not be of im­me­di­ate con­cern to mall op­er­a­tors. Less than one third of the pop­u­la­tion agrees that online shop­ping makes life eas­ier. Thirty eight per cent con­cur to the state­ment: “I would do my shop­ping on the in­ter­net, if there was a safe way to pay.”

Ad­ver­tis­ing sig­nif­i­cantly influences buy­ing be­hav­iour, as 61 per cent ac­cept that they feel safer with brands that they have seen ad­ver­tised.

Locality, prod­uct qual­ity and price are the three most cited fac­tors, when de­cid­ing which shops to visit.

Ac­cord­ing to Wikipedia: “In 2012, The Dubai Mall was the world’s most-vis­ited shop­ping and leisure desti­na­tion, at­tract­ing more than 65 mil­lion visi­tors, up by 20 per cent, when com­pared with 2011, at 54 mil­lion. It at­tracted even more visi­tors than New York with 52 mil­lion tourists and Los An­ge­les with 41 mil­lion in 2012. The num­ber also sur­passes vis­i­tor ar­rivals to land­mark leisure des­ti­na­tions in the world, in­clud­ing Times Square (39.2 mil­lion), Cen­tral Park (38 mil­lion) and Ni­a­gara Falls (22.5 mil­lion).”

There­fore, shop­ping in the UAE is seen as a fun ac­tiv­ity, with more than half of the pop­u­la­tion (57 per cent) stat­ing that they en­joy shop­ping of any kind. The Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emi­rates and Deira City Cen­tre are the top three malls in the re­gion. This rise in foot­fall is di­rectly re­lated to an in­crease in tourism, mak­ing the UAE one of the top leisure des­ti­na­tions for its res­i­dents as well.

The views ex­pressed in this ar­ti­cle are those of the au­thor, and not nec­es­sar­ily those of PARC.

Sha­har­yar Umar

Mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Pan Arab Re­search Center

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