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Retail boost: 81% of UAE's young consumers eager to go back shopping again

September 20, 2021
finance & economy

Majority also looking to return to pre-pandemic travel, holiday experiences

UAE businesses are likely to get a shot in the arm as many consumers are now eager to go back to their old spending ways, findings of a new study by digital experience software firm Sitecore suggest.

Among the young respondents (aged 25-34), 81 percent said they are ready to embrace pre-pandemic shopping, travel and holiday experiences. The majority (76 percent) also said they are currently planning “the trip of a lifetime”, while 68 percent are now more spontaneous, more social and enjoying life more.

Consumers around the world changed their spending habits in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. People retreated to their homes and shopping shifted online, leaving brick-and-mortar stores struggling to stay open.

According to last year’s estimates, global retail spending was forecast to drop by $549 billion in 2020. However, with shoppers going back to some level of normality, the consumer spending economy could get a much-needed boost this year.

Bigger purchases

In Sitecore’s survey, 82 percent of UAE consumers said they plan to make bigger but mindful purchases during the holidays this year. The majority (72 percent) also have more savings set aside for special occasions this year compared to 2020.

“Our research shows pent-up demand and more savings than usual will result in young consumers splurging on self-care and big-ticket items at the register, which is great news for those in retail, travel and hospitality,” said Mohammed Alkhotani, area vice president for Middle East and Africa, Sitecore.

When it comes to shopping, consumers are more likely to prioritise goods produced in the UAE, with 94 percent of those surveyed saying they believe it is essential that retailers sell more items made by local suppliers.

About seven in ten (69 percent) said they are willing to pay more for locally made gifts.

However, budget-conscious shopping will remain. Nearly all consumers (92 percent) agreed that the pandemic has made them think more carefully about how they spend their money.


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