Dubai: Has the pandemic changed the shopping habits of people in Dubai? Is he just buying the essentials or is he enjoying himself again? Are they going online or coming back to the store?
Gulf News has spoken to a cross section of residents and their responses have been quite revealing. Just as COVID-19 caused a change in their shopping habits last year, it looks like it’s starting to look like the good old days again. Call it retail therapy or just a desire to visit malls, shopping seems to be back in full swing as residents try to make the most of the sales, deals and other promotions on offer.
Perfect excuse for shopping
Iraqi-born Canadian expat Suhair Sharaf, 52, an entrepreneur, said during the pandemic, the family was spending more time at home, which made it a perfect excuse to refurnish the place. âThe TV room was the most used, so we bought an extremely comfortable sofa that stretches across the room. It makes us feel like we’re in a movie theater.
Sharaf said the sofa cost the family Dh32,000 after a 10% discount. âIt made our movie watching experience very enjoyable. “
The family also bought a sofa and chair for Dh13,000 (after a 15 percent discount). “It’s the perfect match for a big picture that’s hung behind,” she added.
Sharaf said she also bought a treadmill during the lockdown because the gyms were not working.
Back to socialization
Returning to socializing with safety precautions, Sharaf said she also purchased loungewear. She said she started going out to restaurants after they reopened and loved to dress up for the occasion.
What is retail therapy?
The premise behind retail therapy is that someone who goes on a shopping spree feels good because shopping can improve their mood. This is especially true when people are depressed or stressed. The therapeutic value of shopping in the context of the pandemic has also been the subject of much discussion.
âI bought a few summer dresses online and in stores in Dubai. It is difficult to avoid buying luxury items such as designer handbags and shoes in Dubai. I have my favorites, âshe said.
Sharaf said that as his children returned to school, they were also busy shopping for school uniforms, laptops and other necessities.
Slovakian expat Katarina Elavia Seresova, 35, a fitness instructor, said she too had been shopping. She bought two dresses for 1,200 Dh and 600 Dh in a shopping center. âI also buy online. In fact, I indulge myself when my friends post pictures of their outfits. Once I take a look at something, I go to the store’s website and pick something for me from their collection, âSeresova said.
But if she had a choice, she would go to the store. âNothing like trying on an outfit before you buy it,â she says.
She believes that fashion clothes have become more expensive, especially for some popular brands. She therefore keeps a close eye on good deals and seizes them when she has the opportunity.
Twinkle expatriate Stanislaus Chettiar, 45, says she’s constantly on the lookout for discounts.
âI mainly shop at the mall and it’s amazing to see the discounts at the retailers. I recently bought an outfit that had gone down from Dh 199 to Dh39. Also an online shopper, Chettiar said she purchases pet food and fitness-related accessories, in addition to clothing, from websites.
Elena Pak, 36, accountant, another Ukrainian expat, is no shopaholic. She is careful about what she wants to buy and usually gets them at discounted rates.
âI would really like to see more discounts. We are in the midst of a pandemic and the prices are far too high. Groceries, especially organic products, are still very expensive. The global economy has changed and retailers need to lower their prices.
When shopping is a social experience
Ukrainian expat Krynytska Elena, 55, marketing director at a consultancy firm, loves shopping in Dubai malls. âI love shoes and have a collection of them. They are very comfortable and offer a good balance. On my birthday I wrote a list for my friends of what I wanted for gifts and got them all, âshe said with a smile on her face.
Elena also purchased a designer pearl necklace and earrings.
She admitted that she didn’t like shopping online.
âShopping is a very social thing for me. I like to visit the stores, meet the staff, try on outfits and shoes. It is a very dear feeling .:
Sustained sales, say retailers
Ascots & Chapels, a British luxury fashion designer specializing in the creation of bespoke clothing for men, recorded strong sales. âWe are back to the pre-pandemic level. Our main focus now is to assess consumer trends in the market and understand their needs so that we can better respond to their needs, âsaid Gary Sweeney, Director of Brand and Style at Ascots & Chapels.
âThe main thing that we have observed is that due to COVID-19, there has been an acceleration of change in men’s clothing and in men’s fashion, especially in men’s daily clothing. There is a great demand for made-to-measure costumes. People always want to wear a well-cut suit, but their choice of fabric can change or evolve. For example, rather than choosing a charcoal three-piece suit, they are now opting for tailor-made clothing, âhe said, adding that his clients are mainly western expats from Europe, the United States and Canada. , in addition to India and the locals.
Even with evergreen purchases like the grocery store, there has been a noticeable trend.
Dhananjay Datar, Chairman and CEO of Al Adil Trading, said, âResidents of the UAE have improved their retail spending, especially when it comes to grocery shopping. People have become more health conscious due to the fact that there is more cooking in the home. So they buy more food. We have also noticed that there is a huge demand for products that help to increase the level of immunity. “
Ashish Panjabi, COO at Jacky’s, major of technology and electronics, said: âFor us, retail has never really stopped. Technology products have always been in demand and the biggest challenge has been to ensure sufficient supply due to disruptions in global supply chains.
âWe are now launching Samsung’s two new smartphones, the Galaxy Z Fold3 and the Galaxy Z Flip3. Pre-bookings for both have been very solid and better than previous generation devices. more device launches are expected to take place in the fourth quarter and as we head into the traditional giveaway season.