Gulf Related releases Insight Report 2017

- Abu Dhabi, 03 Apr 2017

Independent research commissioned by Gulf Related, the developer of Abu Dhabi’s 2.8 million square feet next generation mall, Al Maryah Central, has found that over 90% of the Abu Dhabi community say that visiting malls is an important aspect of their lives. The research found widespread satisfaction about the capital’s retail offerings, but also identified room for improvement in some areas.

97% of almost 1,000 Abu Dhabi shoppers surveyed reported that they are at least somewhat satisfied with existing retail destinations, with over 70% visiting the mall at least once a week – reflecting the central role that malls play in people’s everyday lives.

Conducted by Brunswick Insight, the research showed that two thirds of consumers believe that shopping and dining options have improved considerably over the past five years, and the same number choose to stay and shop in Abu Dhabi rather than travelling to Dubai and elsewhere.

“Across the UAE the retail sector has been increasing in value by over $2 billion per year, with average consumer spending in 2015 estimated at $23,960 per capita – the highest in the region. But until now, there has been very little research which goes beyond the numbers to explore the tastes and sentiments of the capital’s consumers qualitatively,” says Kevin A. Ryan, Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director, Gulf Related. “At Gulf Related, we believe in research-driven insights to ensure our projects meet changing consumer needs ahead of coming to market. This study validates and influences how Gulf Related will bring Al Maryah Central to the market to appeal to Abu Dhabi’s residents and visitors.”

Gulf Related’s research explored the social, emotional and practical factors that influence Abu Dhabi shoppers’ choice of malls and retail destinations, offering the first in-depth look at consumer sentiment in the capital, through a combination of face-to-face interviews, focus groups, and online questionnaires.

Naturally, shoppers choose to visit malls offering their favorite brands, retailers and dining options, but the consumers surveyed also placed importance on a wider range of factors, including accessibility, ease of parking, natural daylight, cleanliness, public spaces and amenities like ATMs, Wi-Fi and phone charging stations.  9 in 10 respondents say they ‘always’ or ‘usually’ visit a restaurant or café on a trip to a mall, highlighting the importance of dining options covering a range of cuisines and price points.

89% of respondents ranked entertainment options as an important factor in their choice of mall. Almost half of shoppers who live in Abu Dhabi but visit malls outside the capital saying that they do so predominantly for the entertainment options, a figure even higher among Emiratis and Arab expats – demonstrating that this is an area where Abu Dhabi’s offer still needs to improve.

Daniel Parry, Managing Director and General Counsel, Gulf Related, says: “In particular, this research has articulated Abu Dhabi’s consumers’ desire for greater entertainment choices. Al Maryah Central is focused on entertainment, dining and fashion.  With a 21 screen multiplex VOX with IMAX, 38,000 square-feet family entertainment centre, 50,000 square-feet sports and activity zone, three parks, a community day care and a public library, the Abu Dhabi customer’s needs and desires are being well looked after. Our 100 dining options, ranging from high end restaurants like Zuma, Coya and Roberto’s to casual eateries, will reflect the high importance Abu Dhabi’s consumers place on dining as part of the mall experience.”

Mortimer Singer, Chief Executive Officer of TRAUB commented; “Gulf Related’s trade mark, customer centric approach and dedication to placemaking is clearly validated by this research.  The findings should give businesses operating in the UAE increased confidence in the Abu Dhabi consumer and the significant market opportunity of Al Maryah Central.

Click here to view the full research report
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