Smart Dubai introduces data initiative to boost retail trade
Smart Dubai, the government body charged with driving Dubai’s citywide smart transformation, and the Dubai Department of Economic Development rolled out a data initiative to predict trends that can help strengthen the emirate’s retail sector.
The joint initiative will provide insights into citywide retail data for informed economic policy decision-making, the two entities said yesterday. The move is part of the Private Sector Data Engagement Strategy of the government, which is designed to increase collaboration between the public and private sectors on data.
“Data is the foundation of smart cities. We’ve said this before on numerous occasions, and we reiterate it as we …. drive its [Dubai’s] plans to become the smartest and happiest city in the world,” said Aisha Bint Butti bin Bishr, director general, Smart Dubai.
“Our goal is to enable the seamless exchange and use of data to establish a robust data ecosystem and create economic and social value.”
The initiative will result in anonymised and aggregated data being examined to understand catchment area – the zone surrounding retailers or malls from which they can draw customers – visitor flow and spending trends in one of Dubai’s largest malls.
Apart from the DED, or Dubai Economy as the department is also known, Smart Dubai is partnering with Majid Al Futtaim, one of the biggest retail and leisure conglomerates in the region, and UAE telecoms operator du.
Smart Dubai has an agreement with MAF to enhance data and analytics capabilities.
The retail sector is one of the most important contributors to the gross domestic product of Dubai, the commercial and business hub of the Middle East. The wholesale and retail sector was by far the emirate’s largest sector in 2018, according to figures from the Dubai Statistics Centre. It accounted for 26.4 per cent of Dubai GDP – more than double the contribution of the second sector in line, transport and storage, which accounted for just 12.3 per cent. Wholesale and retail grew 3.3 per cent in the first half of 2019.
“Our focus on the retail sector stems from the immense contribution it makes to Dubai’s economy,” Ms bin Bishr added.
Although the retail sector faces competition from online portals such as Amazon and Noon, government, fiscal support programmes, initiatives that facilitate business and the emirate’s efforts to increase the number of visitors, are helping to boost growth.
“For Dubai, it is very important to understand the changes in performance of the emirate’s main sectors and analyse the performance of each sector with public and private stakeholders to consistently improve the environment for doing business in the city,” said Sami Al Qamzi, director general of Dubai Economy. “We assure the private sector that the government will share more economic data sets with them to help them,” he added.