UAE Apparel Sector – Growth Forecast 2016

UAE’s apparel and clothing sector will continue to grow steadily in 2016. Strong demand by local residents as well as from the burgeon tourist arrivals in the country will drive the growth of apparel, fashion, clothing and luxury retail sector in the country. This is due to the fact that the total retail retail sales in 2015 reached $70.9 billion at a CAGR of 5.3%, making it as one of the most attractive sector in UAE.

UAE – Tops Market Attractiveness Scores Globally

Being ranked 7th on 2015 Global Retail Development Index, UAE has the highest market attractiveness / retail development score (97.6%) globally as well as the lowest market saturation score (16.5%) in the entire Middle East and Pan Asia region. UAE apparel industry is considered best in terms of clothing sales growth as it provides ample opportunities for international retailers to setup and expand their businesses and brands in UAE.

UAE – World’s 11th Biggest Clothing Importer

UAE continues to hold its 11th position as the world’s biggest clothing importer with import value of $4 billion, ahead of Turkey and Saudi Arabia by $1 billion. Propelled by population growth of near around 5% (9.5 million currently) and strong tourist inflow, UAE’s apparel industry and clothing retail sector is expected to remain profitable for businesses and investors as the country strives to become an exciting shopping destination by offering unique shopping experiences in the shape of festivals, events and exhibitions.

Dubai – The New Fashion Capital

Amid oil crises, saturating global and regional markets, Dubai will continue to shine and sectors like apparel and fashion will thrive on account of retail development in the city with particular focus on the luxury segment. After London, Dubai is the second global city with highest percentage (55%) of international retailers and DSF event further testifies the attractiveness of Dubai’s retail sector for future investments.

Dubai Shopping Festival contributes $175 million towards economy

Market research data suggests that event like Dubai Shopping Festival (one-month event) single handedly contributes $175 million towards Dubai economy, increasing the overall retail spending in UAE by 7.6% in 2016/17. After London, Dubai is the second global city with highest percentage (55%) of international retailers and DSF event further testifies the attractiveness of Dubai’s retail sector for future investments.

Dubai Mall oversees 80 M visitors; Emaar Group post 1.65 billion profit in 2015

Emaar Malls Group that owns Dubai Mall (the largest shopping mall in the world) oversaw a total of 124 million visitors in 2015, a 9% increase from 2014 out which 80 million people visited the Dubai Mall alone, the highest by any shopping mall in the world. The group also posted an AED 1.65 billion profit for 2015, up by 23% compared to 2014 as its occupancy across the assets, which includes The Dubai Mall, reached 96% in 2015.

Clothing Sector Growth in Dubai

Emaar Mall Group’s performance is a testament of how Dubai’s clothing retail, which includes fashion and luxury segment, is attractive for investment. Being a significant contributor towards Dubai’s GDP, clothing retail sector offers some of the most affluent consumers in the world and continue to progress at a reasonable rate. By 2018, Dubai will replace Paris as the third most popular and must-visit tourist destination in the world. The tilt of the many developments is towards the high-end fashion retail, which could be correlated to rise in luxury tourism in the Emirate.

With Dubai government striving to enhance tourism growth in line with the Dubai Tourism Vision 2020, performance of groups like Emaar Mall will make a huge impact on the economy of Dubai by encouraging existing and new business to invest in retail, tourism and hospitality sectors of Dubai and UAE.

Research Konnection – This Research Report is compiled by Team Research Konnection; A Dubai Based Market Research Firm that specialises in Business Setups and Market Expansion in Dubai / UAE. Feel free to reach out to us if you are looking for market research, business planning or feasibility study work.

Author: RKonnect
The author is the Managing Director of Research Konnection, a Dubai based market research and consulting firm that helps local and international companies to identify emerging business opportunities and successfully expand in the Gulf region. The author can be reached at
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