World Cup to propel retail spending in Mena region, report says

Gross merchandise value is expected to reach $8.4 billion for online retail during festive period

The Fifa World Cup countdown clock in Doha, with the Mena region due to benefit from festive consumer spending for the next few weeks, researchers found. PA
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The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is expected to provide a major boost to the festive retail period in the Mena region, a report has found.

Peak gross merchandise is projected to reach $8.4 billion for online retail compared to $6.5 billion in 2021, strategy consultants Redseer said in a report.

When including offline sales, the overlap of the football season with Black Friday, which this year is on November 25, will present a $70 billion opportunity for the retail sector in Mena, it said.

"The October-November months represent the festive season when numerous sales campaigns run in the retail space across online and offline channels," the report said.

"Black Friday is the most significant event during the period and has historically seen massive spikes in retail spending."

Retail spending from tourists would contribute more than $3 billion during the festive season, with packaged food and beverages, sportswear, fashion and electronics the sectors to benefit most, according to Redseer.

"A significant portion of the spending will happen through online channels, which will also heavily influence offline purchases," it added.

"Brands and retailers should double their focus on digital media during this period to maximise value creation for themselves and their target consumers."

The World Cup, the first such event to be held in the region, starts on Sunday when hosts Qatar face Ecuador. The final takes place on December 18.

Consumer spending in the UAE jumped 20 per cent on an annual basis in the first nine months of this year despite inflation concerns, Majid Al Futtaim's State of the UAE Retail Economy report said this month.

Retail spending grew by 15 per cent annually in the nine-month period while non-retail spending rose 29 per cent over the same period.

A number of sectors are set to benefit from the hosting of the tournament, including hospitality.

Thousands of fans are flocking to the UAE due to a shortage of accommodation in Qatar, with major local and international hotel chains expected to be at or near full capacity during the four-week tournament.

Shuttle flights are being operated by regional airlines from Gulf cities on match days.

Flydubai and Qatar Airways will operate up to 120 daily flights in and out of Dubai World Central between November 20 and December 19, carrying football fans to Doha for the game and back to the emirate, Dubai Airports said this week.

Updated: November 17, 2022, 4:15 AM