Dubai is a preferred market for Indian retailers looking to expand globally as the emirate’s economy continues to open up and adapt to new market conditions, industry experts said during a recent webinar hosted by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s representative office in Mumbai.
The webinar, organized in cooperation with IMC Chamber of Commerce & Industry, was joined by prominent CEOs representing leading retailers form the UAE and India who shared their insights on the evolving global retail landscape, market predictions and best practices for enhancing the customer experience.
Panelists and speakers included: Rajiv Podar, president–IMC Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Omar Khan, director of international offices–Dubai Chamber; Dinesh Joshi, chairman IBC-IMC Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Mira Kulkarni, founder–Forest Essentials; Dalip Sehgal, CEO–NEXUS Malls; Rajneesh Mahajan, CEO–Inorbit Malls; Paul Marks, managing partner – Retail Management Solutions; Sameer Tapia, founder–ALMT Legal; Ramesh Cidambi, COO–Dubai Duty Free; Pankaj Kumar, head omnichannel retail–Jumbo Electronics; J P Shukla, co-founder & CEO, 1-India Family Mart; Chirag Vora, Partner–Amarsons Collections; and Umme-Haani Khorakiwala, director–Akbarallys Men.
Discussions during the event examined the impact of COVID-19 on traditional retailers and e-commerce companies, preventative measures and best practices adopted by Dubai, which have enabled retailers to reopen during the pandemic.
Changing consumer demands and rapid digital transformation in the COVID-19 era have created a new challenges and opportunities for retailers around the world, the panelists explained, highlighting the need for industry players to integrate advanced technologies and digital platforms to enhance brand reputation and stay connected to customers.
Retail is a major contributor to India’s economy and the Indian retail market is projected to grow to $1.75 trillion by 2026, Podar revealed, adding that this growth trend is supported by several factors such as a growing middle-class, rapid urbanization and increased consumer spending.
For his part, Khan highlighted the vast competitive advantages offered by Dubai to foreign companies and investors. He pointed to recent changes to the UAE Commercial Companies Law permitting 100% foreign ownership of mainland companies as an important development that creates a major business opportunity for Indian retailers that are looking to expand globally.
India remains Dubai’s second largest trading partner with bilateral non-oil trade reaching AED38.5 billion ($10.5 billion) in the first half of 2020, Khan revealed. He identified several factors that make Dubai a market of choice for leading Indian businesses, including its geographic proximity to the country and large Indian population, adding that some of the biggest names in the UAE’s retail sector are owned by Indian businessmen.