UAE retail sales hit $71bln; e-commerce spending highest in MENA: Kearney

Retailers in the UAE raked in a total of $71 billion in sales last year, helping the country’s retail sector secure its position as one of the most resilient globally, according to new data released by consultancy Kearney. 

The UAE, which has the highest GDP per capita among the emerging markets at $58,753, also leads the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in terms of internet sales, with the average spend on e-commerce per household reaching $2,554, twice the global average of $1,156 and four times the average in the region. 

Kearney ranked the UAE 14th out of 35 emerging countries in its Global Retail Development Index (GRDI), which determines retail markets that are growing, attractive and relatively risk-free, based on a set of 26 factors and four key variables. 

According to Kearney, the position of the UAE, which earned an overall index score of 50, reflects the resilience of the country’s retail sector, owing to government reforms and rapid digitalisation.  

It said that technology and experiential marketing are driving the growth in the sector, as merchants invest in technologies such as artificial intelligence, internet of things and virtual reality. 

The ease of doing business in the country, stimulus packages, as well as the steady support for start-ups and small businesses, are also attracting foreigners to invest in the UAE. 

“Coupled with the high consumer spending levels, we have seen large international retailers and global brands entering the market or expanding their operations over the last decade,” said Mohammed Dhedhi, Partner at Consumer and Retail practice at Kearney Middle East, who spearheaded the new GRDI report. 

Overall, China leads Kearney’s index, with an overall score of 72.8 and retail sales totalling more than $4 trillion, followed by India, which recorded retail sales totalling $1.163 trillion. 

Another GCC country, Saudi Arabia, came in the 12th position, with retail sales reaching $119 billion. 




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