The evolution of ecommerce and digital footprint has allowed retail businesses to capture the international market. The Dubai Executive Council launched a new e-commerce strategy for the emirate in September 2019. The targets of the strategy include increasing the segment’s contribution to the UAE economy to Dh12bn ($3.3bn) by 2023. The boost in the region global economic contribution of e-commerce companies based in Dubai to Dh24bn ($6.5bn) by 2020.
Targets are achievable with by attracting foreign investors in e-logistics and cloud computing services, as well as reducing the operating expenses for e-commerce companies by 20% through price reductions in returned goods, storage fees, customs duties and VAT on transport. The strategy was prepared by the Dubai Free Zones Council in collaboration with Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Dubai Economy and Dubai Customs.
Additionally, new players in the market have made their digital footprint through a strategic approach. Global businesses, locals and investors are major players that are already owning their of the Middle East's online market. In November 2016, the launch of Noon.com, a $1bn e-commerce platform for goods in the ecommerce space. Additionally, the company acquired Sivvi.com, a Dubai-based online fashion retailer, while the following September it launched a low-cost e-platform kul.com. Another progressive player in the global ecommerce market launched in June 2019. US-based e-commerce platform Amazon.com officially launched branded operations in the UAE. Services are now available to UAE customers meaning like Amazon Prime, Prime Video and the Kindle Store.
Dubai South, a state-owned developer announced in February 2019 that it would spend Dh2bn ($544.4m) in a period of over four years to build a 920,000-sq-metre e-commerce free trade zone. This opportunity provides an offering to foreign companies of 100% ownership. It is common for foreign investors and operators outside of free zones are generally limited to a 49% stake in local firms. The ecommerce location is within the Dubai Logistics District and is in proximity to Dubai World Central airport, the EZDubai free zone encourages and attracts e-commerce, logistics and related industries. The funds will be used to build warehouses, offices and additional infrastructure for businesses. Ready-to-operate will also be available in EZDubai to reduce the time it takes businesses to start operating on-line. Global logistics operator DHL Express along with a number of international companies have committed to doing business and leasing space in EZDubai. Additionally, India's largest omni-channel retailer for infants and children have commited to leasing space in the area.
The outlook for 2020 and 2021 is bright due to the prospect of EXPO 2020 that will increase numbers of visitors and tourists. Spending in the emirate will be increased by footfall. Mall developers in the Dubai area are determined to gain the sector increase in business by constructing bigger and better malls. Additionally, the adaptation of retail market shifting to omni-channel that is digitally integrated into the retail concepts for additional business growth.