Revealed: clothing, footwear is UAE's biggest retail sector

New figures show that apparel makes up nearly three quarters of the emirate's retail market

Dubai Marina Mall. (Getty Images)

Dubai Marina Mall. (Getty Images)

Dubai’s apparel and footwear market, valued at $11.5 billion in 2016, accounted for the largest share of the emirate’s retail sector, according to new analysis.

The report, released by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry during the 11th World Retail Congress, found that apparel leads the category with 73 percent market share.

This was followed by footwear (18 percent) and sportswear (9 percent).

The report said demand within this segment was supported last year by value and mid-range offerings by retailers, particularly during shopping festivals and sales events.

This trend is expected to continue through 2021, leading the category to achieve a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.4 percent in the medium term, it added.

Personal accessories was identified as the second-largest product category within Dubai’s retail sector, with an estimated market value of $4.2 billion.

Key factors that supported its growth in 2016 included rising demand for smart watches and the growing popularity of online retail in the emirate. The category is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4.4 percent over the medium term to reach $5 billion by 2020.

Consumer electronics claimed the third-largest share of the local retail market last year, generating sales worth $2.3 billion. The segment is expected to remain stable over the medium term, growing at a forecast CAGR of 0.4 percent.

The value of Dubai’s home and garden market was estimated at $1.7 billion as of 2016, and the segment is projected to see a steady CAGR of 3.2 percent  over the medium term to reach $1.9 billion by 2020.

Dubai’s beauty and personal care market was valued at $1.53 billion, while sales of consumer appliances in Dubai were valued at $622 million last year.

Hamad Buamim, president and CEO, Dubai Chamber, said the analysis highlights the underlying strength of Dubai’s retail sector, as well as the key trends that will fuel future growth within the market.

“The easing of UAE visa regulations to some countries is expected to drive tourism, which will likely have a positive impact on the Dubai’s retail market going forward as the emirate prepares to attract up to 20 million tourists annually by 2020.”

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