Technology to break legacy retailers’ monopoly in the UAE: Dubai Chambers CEO

March 16, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau

As the two-day Retail Summit draws to a close after witnessing strong participation by over 70 key C-suite speakers and over 800 attendees from around the world at the Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, the key theme that dominated the conferences and panel discussions was digital transformation in the retail industry.

As the industry is in its recovery phase following the pandemic, global inflation, supply chain challenges and technological disruptions, a retail shakeup is inevitable. In addition, the drastically changing customer behaviour leaning towards purpose-driven, sustainability-conscious, value-oriented brands and retailers have made even the most established retailers from the region question their operations and direction.

According to H.E Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, technology is the biggest game-changer today. “I believe technology will bring new players to the market that didn’t exist before. And many of the players that have been in the market for tens of years will be out,” he said.

Back in 2016-17, when the surge in e-commerce was pointing towards a ‘retail apocalypse’ that never really happened, many international retailers started rethinking their models and heavily investing in their digital transformation journeys. The Middle East, however, lagged behind.

“(Back then) whenever we spoke about e-commerce, the conversation would be dominated by Amazon or Facebook. Local players were looking at it, as though the change will only come about in 5-10 years, as it only accounted for 1-2% of the bottom line (and top line)” he said. “This isn’t the case now. Today, it makes up 15-20% of its revenues. And this makes all the players look really bad.”

For a region that has been dominated by family businesses, and a sector where merchant families have enjoyed their monopolies for decades, this might come as a seismic shift. In fact, the UAE government even announced reforms recently that aims to remove monopolies on the sale of imported goods, giving foreign firms the flexibility to distribute their own goods or change their local agent on contract expiry.

“Covid-19 accelerated a lot of this and escalated the process of digitisation – which would have otherwise taken 10 years – to 3 years. This would also accelerate the death of some of the old companies and the growth of the new ones – even those that didn’t even exist before. We think there will be new players that will either come into this market (from outside the region) or are starting in this market, which will flourish and become a huge influence,” he explained.



Previous Article Next Article



Carrefour onboards female-led start-up The Zola Collective

Carrefour, which is owned and operated by Majid Al Futtaim in the 

Continue Reading

January 31, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau
A new branch of Waitrose comes up in Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa City

British grocer Waitrose has opened its newest store in Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa 

Continue Reading

January 25, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau
Its Netherlands Food Week at Al Maya Supermarkets

UAE-based Al Maya Supermarkets has kicked off its ‘Netherlands Food Week’ that 

Continue Reading

January 20, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau
Tesco announces price lock to support consumers amid inflation (PC: Andrew Parsons / Parsons Media)

British grocery retail chain Tesco has announced a price lock on over 

Continue Reading

January 13, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau
Union Coop renews ISO certification

Dubai-based grocery retailer Union Coop has successfully obtained the ISO 22301, an 

Continue Reading

January 12, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau
Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona announces salary increase amid inflation (PC: Mercadona)

Spanish omnichannel supermarket chain Mercadona has announced salary increase amid inflation that 

Continue Reading

January 3, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau
Choithrams partners with Rove Hotels to open 8 new outlets

Grocery retail chain Choithrams will open eight convenience stores across Rove Hotels’ 

Continue Reading

December 30, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
Géant to open more than 20 stores in the UAE in 2023

Part of regional retail conglomerate GMG, Géant plans to open more than 

Continue Reading

December 23, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
FMCG online sales growing by 68% in UAE and 58% in KSA

Online share in FMCG sales has been growing all over the world, 

Continue Reading

December 19, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
Majid Al Futtaim Retail, Standard Chartered launch region’s first Sustainable Supply Chain Finance Programme

Majid Al Futtaim Retail, operator of the Carrefour franchise in the Middle 

Continue Reading

December 15, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
GMG and Silal partner to support 1,100 UAE farms access local retail market

UAE-based diversified conglomerate GMG and Silal have signed a memorandum of understanding 

Continue Reading

December 12, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
Lulu Group partners with Amazon expanding grocery offerings to online customers in the UAE

Abu Dhabi based grocery retail chain Lulu Group has partnered with Amazon 

Continue Reading

November 24, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau

Download Images RetailME Magazine