UAE Shoppers Are Ready to Splurge This Holiday Season


The holiday season is edging closer, and consumers are pumped to indulge, celebrate, and recuperate. Young UAE consumers are especially eager to resume their normal lives and make up for last year’s COVID-controlled holiday. 

For insights from enthusiastic consumers about holiday shopping, gift-giving, spending, and sentiment, Sitecore conducted a survey, Holiday Shopping Trends 2021, which revealed that 82 per cent of UAE consumers are buying bigger gifts, and 76 per cent, are planning long trips. 

Most of these young shoppers are in the age group 25-34 years, and 72 per cent of them stated that they had set aside more holiday savings than last year. The data arms marketers in categories like retail, travel, automotive, and others with the intelligence they need to deliver winning experiences that satisfy the evolving tastes and demands of consumers.

Also Read: Holiday Retail Sales Expected to Increase: Deloitte

“As 83 per cent of consumers in the UAE are very clearly ready to move on from the pandemic, they are looking at Holiday 2021 as the beginning of the rest of their lives,” said Mohammed Alkhotani, Area Vice President – Middle East and Africa, Sitecore. “Our research shows pent-up demand and more savings than usual will result in younger consumers splurging on self-care and big-ticket items at the register, which is great news for those in retail, travel, and hospitality. It’s also heartening to see that 69 per cent of UAE consumers want to support their local community, including locally-owned businesses. The industry will need to respond with more offerings from these businesses.”

Gifting experiences have become highly popular in recent times. The Sitecore survey reveals that over 76 per cent of consumers prefer experience gifts, and they are beginning to plan their version of “the trip of a lifetime.” Well, 68 per cent of consumers under the age of 44 believe themselves to have become more spontaneous, more social, and living life to the fullest. Deeper into the economy, experts predict that experiences will continue to offer the most value to businesses, and the most sought-after innovations to the customers across industries.

Meanwhile, some survey insights urge UAE retailers could support more locally-owned businesses. Turns out, buying local and being mindful of purchases is a priority for the UAE.

Ninety-four per cent of consumers believe it is essential that retailers offer more products from locally-owned businesses, but only 60 per cent report seeing more locally-owned products when shopping. Retailers should note that 63 per cent of consumers are annoyed when they find an item stamped with ‘Made in China’, when they actually expect it to be a local product. 

On the other hand, there is a new trend brewing among UAE consumers – self-care, self-gifting. Forty-three per cent of those buying a gift for themselves cite therapy as the main reason for the purchase. 

In the aftermath of the pandemic, it’s not a surprise that consumers are rushing towards experiences, self-care, and indulging in luxury. The business industry is knee-deep into the experience economy, and it comes down to their marketing strategies. How can they stay ahead of their competitors, while UAE shoppers ready themselves for a shopping frenzy?