This is a region that loves to shop, with the mall embedded in the culture as a place to socialize and spend for young and old alike: day or night, winter or summer – in fact, it is one of the only places to go in the blistering summer months.
And luxury is at the heart of the experience. Middle Eastern consumers spend more per capita on luxury goods than anyone else in the world, at nearly $2,000 per year, according to Bain & Company.
GCC nationals are big spenders both home and abroad, spending $1,300 on average per month on clothing and accessories – compared with just $120 a month by Britons – and an average $2,065 for Emiratis and $3,000 plus for Saudis when travelling overseas, according to Chalhoub Group. Comparatively, the Chinese spend $2,000 and Russians a relatively small $1,430.
Souqalmal.com interviewed a dedicated shopper, Sareh Farah, a 26-year-old Iranian born and brought up in the UAE. Below are a few tricks she has learnt along the way.
- BE ON THE LOOKOUT AT ALL TIMES
“I love shoes but I can’t afford to spend a fortune on them, so you have to get creative. One time I was out for coffee with a friend and spotted a pair of black, strappy Mui Mui heels at 50% off at a local boutique. They initially cost $1,092… I bought them for $500.”
- GO TO OUTLET STORES REGULARLY
“I am not a fan of malls; they are usually overcrowded and you lose focus. Outlet stores have tons of branded items from previous seasons – but be sure to do a thorough check.”
- TRY ONLINE SHOPPING
“I personally prefer online shopping as there is more variety at a lower cost and you don’t waste time. Online shopping is efficient as you can narrow down your search results to size, styles, colors, brands and price.”
- DOWNLOAD APPS AND USE SOCIAL MEDIA “Before going to bed, I spend about an hour on my phone going through apps of my favorite sites and brands. I even follow them on social media to keep up to date with trends and future sales.”
- INVEST IN A SHIPPING SERVICE ACCOUNT
“If you are going to shop online then invest in Aramex’s Shop and Ship account, it’s a definite must. You aren’t limited to buying locally but can buy items from all over the world. This way you widen your scope of getting amazing discounts.”
- PERSEVERANCE AND PATIENCE
“There was a pair of special edition, Jimmy Choo Lance sandals in turquoise blue I was determined to get – but they were over $1,000, well above my budget. With summer sales around the corner, I waited patiently till they had 30% off but I still wasn’t happy. For two weeks straight, I regularly checked websites for the prices to drop further and even visited the store in the mall. Eventually my perseverance paid off, as I found the pair of shoes for 60% off.”
SAREH’S TOP SITES