Home BusinessRetail UAE is a great place for retail business, reveals survey

UAE is a great place for retail business, reveals survey

by Staff Reporter
Retail business in UAE

Online retail management company Uplo has released their latest annual report, that reveals that 88 percent of retailers think the UAE is a great place to operate a retail business.

The in-depth survey of more than 100 retail leaders was commissioned through YouGov and is part of Uplo’s awaited MENA Online Retail Report 2023. The research paper also includes leading insight from experts at Checkout.com and SAP.

Retail Business in UAE

There was also strong optimism amongst 73 percent of the retail leaders interviewed that they would grow revenue and profits this year.

Nearly half suggested that their online retail operations are growing at a staggering rate of 20 percent or more per year.

Estimates from Dubai Chamber of Commerce indicate that ecommerce will grow from $4.8billion (in 2021) to $9.2billion in the UAE by 2026, supporting the buoyant attitude of the retail poll.

Nicolas Bruylants, CVO and Co-Founder of Uplo said, “2023 looks set to be a record year for online retail across the region, with this survey indicating retailers are seeing rapid growth that is far outstripping many global markets. Ecommerce across MENA is bucking the global trends of inflation and supply chain disruptions, instead showing remarkable resilience.

Nations like the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are developing world-class ecommerce processes. Through investment in technology, infrastructure and talent, we are at the point where the region is starting to leapfrog other countries around the world in terms of the speed, convenience and efficiency of the ecommerce offering.”

The report does highlight some challenges that retailers are facing. 61 percent said competition from online rivals is fierce, while more than half found it challenging to manage profitability with the fine margins required for success.

Uplo also found that retail is at a tipping point for using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), with a 50-50 split for those businesses that are using such tools and those who aren’t.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • 63% of surveyed retail leaders find managing ecommerce logistics challenging.
  • 51% of UAE retailers want to increase their global reach and sell cross-border.
  • Nearly six in 10 business leaders find managing online retail payments challenging.
  • Cash usage in MENA has halved since 2018, with BNPL (buy-now, pay-later) taking its place.
  • BNPL now accounts for more than 23% of ecommerce sales and is anticipated to overtake cash (35%).
  • Credit/debit card use is still the most prevalent payment method across ecommerce accounting for 42% of transactions (Uplo Data).
  • Despite demand for BNPL, nearly two-thirds of online retailers in the region do not offer the service.

Uplo’s research

Uplo’s research also highlights MENA is the fastest growing ecommerce market in the world (double-digit year-on-year growth in all regional countries), with average household spending on ecommerce topping more than $2,500 per year in the UAE alone.

In such a highly dynamic environment, Uplo supports brands in navigating the challenges of online retail strategy, optimization of supply chain and logistics, managing payments including ‘buy now, pay later,’ and improving marketing and customer experience channels to acquire and retain customers across marketplaces and direct-to-consumer (D2C) channels.

Uplo also advises businesses on the deployment of effective AI/ML processes to enhance operations.


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