A report by Dubai Future Foundation foresees the future of retail post COVID-19
Duba: Online retailers and e-commerce platforms experiencing drastic growth as consumers avoid shopping malls in response to COVID-19, according to a new report‘Life After COVID-19: Retail’ by Dubai Future Foundation (DFF).
The report, launched within the Foundation’s ‘Life after COVID-19’ series and includes eight reports to date, tackles the different challenges and opportunities that the UAE and the Arab world will face in the aftermath of the global health crisis.
The report acknowledges the need for shutting down malls in the UAE from March 25 to April 25 amid the global health challenges to protect the general public’s health and safety, and to lessen the spread of the virus. Similar measures have been taken throughout the MENA region. Due to the digital infrastructure that Dubai and the UAE offer, an abundance of online retailers delivered throughout the country to a digitally enabled population, most of which, uses the internet, according to the jointly issued report by Visa Middle East and The Department of Economic Development (DED).
Online on the rise
The report highlighted examples where online sales are on the rise. Dubai-based Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), which operates 24 shopping malls, such as Mall of the Emirates, has seen a surge in online sales, with a 59 per cent year-on-year increase in online customers in March 2020. Saudi Arabian retailer BinDawood Holding has seen a 200 percent increase in its online sales since the escalation of the COVID-19 crisis.
Report findings reveal that shifting businesses online requires significant investment from brick-and-mortar retailers facing a cash crunch. However, retailers can be spared such expenditures should existing and new e-commerce platforms provide access to their platforms for their products. Dubai-based real estate company Emaar, for example, has set-up a simulated Dubai Mall on noon.com for customers to shop virtually at many of the mall’s well-known stores.