Who Are the GCC Retailers That Benefited From COVID-19?

Published October 8th, 2020 - 02:00 GMT
Who Are the GCC Retailers That Benefited From COVID-19?
Feelings of unease, anxiety, and other forms of mental challenges have been amongst the most reported sentiments following months of closures and travel ban. (Shutterstock: Elnur)

Despite our conflicting views over the severity of the virus or the efficiency of precautionary measures adopted or enforced, it is an undeniable fact that disruptions caused by the pandemic have changed our lives irrevocably.

Feelings of unease, anxiety, and other forms of mental challenges have been amongst the most reported sentiments following months of closures and travel ban, which had a significant influence on how people choose to unwind and try to treat themselves in an effort to feel better about themselves despite the on-going global crisis. Thus, and in an attempt to avoid the risk of contracting the virus while in crowded public spaces, many people have resorted to online shopping, boosting digital purchases.

During the first few months of the COVID-19 outbreak, which had witnessed large-scale closures and nation-wide lockdowns, many retailers reported a sharp rise in online purchases made by consumers who were trying to satisfy their shopaholic selves. Thus driving an unprecedented and unexpected shift into e-commerce, which eventually pressured stakeholders to utilize digital platforms and online channels to facilitate such needs.

The potential for e-commerce activities in the GCC has drastically grown during 2020, accounting for more than $19 B industry. According to the UAE-based Danube Group, 25% of their overall sales during 2020 have been carried out online, after having only been around 5% prior to the pandemic.

A report published last month by Arabian Business has estimated Saudi Arabia's e-commerce gains to hit a total of $8.3 billion in sales, followed by the UAE, with $7.5 billion. These numbers point at a prompt and clever response on behalf of retailers in the region to the new reality, in which consumers have a greater tendency to shop online than in person.

Yet, shopping malls are still quite popular, especially as precautionary measures are being followed to ensure socially distanced shopping experiences. In the UAE, mall administrators have noticed that shopping centers that are not usually reliant on tourists activities have only seen a slight drop in visitors and consequently purchases, referring this to the fact that individuals who were lucky enough to keep their jobs during the crisis have been trying to make up for their inability to travel abroad by shopping. In September, Gulf News reported that such shopping malls have had 80% - 90% of visitors come back especially during weekends.

Do your prefer shopping online or in person during the current crisis? Can you find digital shopping websites for all of your favorite brands?


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