According to Euromonitor, the UAE remains the most attractive market in the region for retailers, ranking 5th this year, and retail sales exceeded US$56.6 billion in 2016. The retail sales turnover is expected to exceed US$71 billion by 2021.
The country remains very attractive to retailers as 86% of the population lives in urban centres. In addition, it is a low risk destination as other countries in the region battle the effects of low oil prices. The UAE’s retail sector is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 4.9%, according to Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. And while a new VAT will likely have an impact on retail sales, analysts remain confident in the UAE’s long-term prospects.
The sector contributes around 11% to the country’s GDP, while Dubai’s retail and wholesale sector accounts for 29% of GDP. E-commerce growth has averaged 30% over the past few years, and reports forecast more activity and growth in the coming years.