23 - 25 MAY 2023 | 11:00AM - 7:00PM


UAE retail continues its bounce back

16 Mar. 2022

The UAE’s resilient retail sector continues to bounce back to record levels as the engagement of out-of-home activities return to normal.


After two years of economic uncertainty, retail is on an upward trajectory and with it consumer spending.  Consequently, industry observers predict that the UAE will post a growth of 3.6% in 2022, with a total household spending of AED 463.3 billion (US$ 126 billion), up from AED 447.3 billion (US$ 121 billion) in 2021.

The sector’s optimistic outlook is maintained by the increase in retail spending levels as the country’s economy continues to prosper and the vibrancy of the wider GCC sees healthy and sustained growth.

A substantive return of international tourism, increased construction activity, rapidly growing population and an upturn in personal disposable income are expected to drive robust growth of long-term retail spending and investment. In particular, innovation in digital solutions and sustainability are expected to have significant influence across all sectors of the UAE and GCC retail industry.

Data from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry forecasts that UAE retail sales will grow by 6.6% annually to reach AED 258 billion (US$ 70.5 billion) by 2025.

Bricks-and-mortar retail sales are estimated to grow by a CAGR of 5.7%, which is driving demand for retail space by leading local and international stakeholders. With several new mega developments due to be completed over the next two years, it is estimated that Gross Lettable Area (GLA) in Abu Dhabi and Dubai will increase to 7.5 million square meters by 2024 from a current 5.8 million square metres.

Physical stores aside, further growth in retail spending will be driven by the increase in appetite for high-quality omnichannel, data-driven, convenience led retailing and social commerce. Consumers are now using an average of five “connected” devices, including wearables, for online purchases and digitised services, boosting non-store retailing to grow at an estimated CAGR of 14.8%. Services such as buy online, collect-in-store and all their variations are significantly increasing reach and revenues.

In 2020 UAE retail e-commerce reached a record AED 14.3 billion (US$ 3.9 billion) and is projected to reach AED 29 billion (US$ 8 billion) and a wider GCC projection of AED 183 billion (US$ 50 billion) by 2025. Developing trends, such as webrooming, showrooming, digital personalisation, instore tracking and increased social media are all anticipated to drive a significant change across the entire retail sector.

As tech-savvy consumers combine store and sofa to meet their spending demands; retailers who provide consumers what they want, where they want it, and when they want it by employing augmented and virtual reality, image recognition, computer vision technology and artificial intelligence will be the ones that shape the future of the industry.

The continual transformation of the retail landscape and the need for informed commentary from industry leaders, has led to a newly formed, dedicated, forum for senior retail buyers and leaders. The INDEX Retail Leadership Forum will provide dedicated discussion and intelligence at a pivotal time for the commercial retail sector.

The forum will take place 24-26 May 2022 at the Dubai World Trade Centre in conjunction with INDEX, the largest and most significant international interior and fit-out trade show in the MENA region and will allow attendees to discover the latest in retail and consumer trends and the imperatives facing the immediate and long-term sustainability of the industry.

Attendees and speakers will be drawn from a wide spectrum of the industry including “Big-Box” buyers and decision makers, luxury, high-end, online and leading analysts, influencers, experts and trend forecasters along with knowledge transfer experts in logistics strategy and detailed procurement techniques and next generation retailing.

INDEX connects the world’s leading brands and manufacturers with regional hospitality, residential, commercial and retail buyers and provides an interactive and innovative platform for over 20,000 professionals over three days. To attend this year's forum, new for this year, please register your details below.