E-commerce platforms in the UAE are gearing up for this month's major annual online shopping season, with a number of portals offering promotions to attract online shoppers on the hunt for bargains.
The November shopping tradition in the UAE was inspired from Black Friday – which falls on the Friday following Thanksgiving in the US – when retailers such as Walmart and Target offer big discounts products at their physical stores.
This is usually followed by Cyber Monday – the Monday after Black Friday – when large discounts are offered online in a bid to encourage online shopping. But Black Friday has started earlier every year, as retailers hope to cash in on shoppers who don't want to get caught in the holiday rush.
China, meanwhile, on November 11 holds the Singles' Day festival. This has morphed into the 11.11 sale that rakes in billions for online platforms such as Alibaba and JD.com.
These events have been adapted in several countries, with local retailers offering their own versions.
The UAE has witnessed a significant surge in online shopping, accelerated further by the Covid-19 pandemic. The country's e-commerce retail market hit a record $3.9 billion in 2020, growing 53 per cent annually, with the sector accounting for 8 per cent of the overall retail market, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry reported. E-commerce licences issued by the emirate jumped 63 per cent in the first half of 2021, the Department of Economic Development said.
Everyday items – groceries, health, personal care and household goods – continue to be the top products bought online, with electronics like mobile phones coming in second, according to ShopCash data.
Here's a round-up of discounts so far, with more expected in the coming days.
Amazon's 11.11 sale
Amazon.ae, which acquired Dubai's homegrown platform Souq.com in 2017 to launch a local presence, is holding its upcoming 11.11 sale, which runs from November 10 to 12. It will feature up to 50 per cent off a number of items, zero-per cent instalment payment options and extra discounts with partner cards.
The company, founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, also holds its annual White Friday sales event, but its website has provided no further details.
Noon's Yellow Friday
Noon.com, the Middle East's homegrown digital marketplace founded by Mohamed Alabbar, has promised a “crazy” line-up of offers that will start with its 11.11 sale from November 10 to 12, with up to 80 per cent discounts across the site.
It will culminate with its Yellow Friday sale, from November 22 to 28. This will feature flash sales, exclusive bundles, Dh1 deals and up to 70 per cent off top technology products.
“The team is working incredibly hard to ensure an unforgettable experience for both our customers and partners throughout the craziest time of the year,” Maya El Ayach, a senior vice president at noon, said.
Namshi's Black November
Namshi, the fashion portal of Dubai's Emaar Properties, started its month-long sale on November 1. The retailer is offering the “biggest discounts”, daily happy hours and giveaways, including Apple and Samsung products, Sony PlayStation 5 consoles, staycations around the world and a 2022 Mini Cooper.
As part of its promotion, Namshi will be showing a special code on the Burj Khalifa at 8:10pm every Friday and Saturday that unlocks extra discounts.
Carrefour's White Friday
Hypermarket chain Carrefour is also offering up to 70 per cent off during its White Friday promotion in the country. More details are expected to follow.