For those looking to spend big this January, the 21st edition of the Dubai Shopping Festival has once again lived up to their expectations thanks to its attractive discounts and sheer variety of goods.
This year too, DSF has drawn people with deep pockets from all over the world, with tourists from Saudi Arabia and China taking the top two positions in terms of big spenders since the month-long festival began, retailers interviewed by Gulf News said.
Various stores selling items like watches, clothes, shoes, electronics and sportswear, besides high-end stores selling luxury items, said they had witnessed a good jump in sales over the course of the month.
“Although tourists from Saudi and China are [also] happy to find discounted items and good deals, when it comes to something they like, they go ahead and buy it even if it is not at a discount,” said Mazen Mourad, a Lebanese salesperson at a major retail store chain.
Mourad said many of the items picked by such tourists would cost Dh3,000 each or more. A popular sportswear store said that tourists’ spending budget could be as much as Dh5,000 per item.
Shoppers from Saudi Arabia were at an advantage this DSF since the shopping festival coincided with the two-week mid-year school holiday there. An Egyptian sales clerk in a store that sells men and women’s shoes said the promotions that ran this DSF were the biggest, which attracted many shoppers from Saudi Arabia and resulted in a huge increase in sales compared to the same period last year.
“We’ve also had big numbers of Arabs and people from the GCC and also Chinese for this DSF, but the Saudis are our largest group of customers. We can also tell what styles they prefer and how much they are willing to spend,” said Mustafa Mohammad.
In a high-end jewellery and accessory store, a dozen Chinese tourists were seen picking necklaces and watches while taking each other’s opinion. Many were being attended to by Chinese sales people.
“Chinese tourists love coming in groups and many of them choose the same items,” said a salesperson in a big retail store that sells beauty products, perfumes and watches. “Promotions don’t really matter to them because many products are cheaper here and they spend anything between Dh3,000 to Dh10,000 and sometimes more if they like the product.”
Many sales people in the beauty products stores said they are well versed in what appeals to Chinese women. “We know the products they like even before they ask us for them.”
Stores selling hoverboards, electronics and musical instruments were also favoured by big spenders.
“Youngsters were mostly the ones to pick such items. Self-balancing scooters are getting sold out quickly,” said Abdullah Saeed, a sales associate in an entertainment retailing chain.
Among those buying gold and jewellery, however, Indians remain at the top spot. Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group said their participating jewellery outlets marked an average growth of 20-25 per cent compared to their corresponding sales last year. Clients usually bought gold ornaments such as bangles and chains.
“We have been getting a lot of tourists this year. Mainly from Indian subcontinent, followed by Westerners, Chinese and expat Arabs,” said a sales executive at Malabar Gold and Diamonds.
“Buying gold and diamond jewellery has become a must for tourists visiting Dubai due to the price advantage. The offers during DSF are also attractive. The wide variety of products we are able to showcase in Dubai is also making Dubai a preferred destination for jewellery buying,” he said.
On an average, DSF attracts around four to 4.5 million local, regional and international visitors. These visitors spend around Dh15 billion during the month-long festival.