By Alexandria Robinson, Show Director, Gifts & Lifestyle Middle East
There’s been heartening news for the UAE’s dining and gifting supplies industry. Euromonitor International research suggests the market will rise 17.5% to 2023 when it should be worth in total a retail value of some $14.1 billion.
The local market’s love of luxury goods is one reason sustaining the upward trend as is the tradition of corporate gift giving. But another reason behind the sector’s growth momentum is the strong gifting heritage locally which is now massively supported by its multi-cultural population.
Over 60 nationalities live and work in the country and its tolerance for various faiths means a whole range of traditional festive celebrations are celebrated in the country, as are religious festivals.
Of course, Eid is a peak period for gifting retailers. But then there’s Diwali, Chinese New Year, the Orthodox New Year and Christmas and as these are spread throughout the annual calendar, it makes for a year-round business.
The giving and receiving of gifts is an important part of professional and personal life in the Middle East, across the sub-continent and Asia with many of its nationals residing in the UAE. Gift giving is in the very DNA of these regions and is closely associated with the need to build and maintain relationships to progress business. Gift-giving is also rooted in Islam. The holy Prophet (PBUH) placed great importance on it for the promotion of mutual love and affection and the nurturing of friendly relations.
Top gift picks for the region include jewellery, leatherware including purses and handbags, statement pens and watches. Gifts are often luxurious and used to demonstrate status, respect, wealth and generosity.
Leatherware is set to be a major segment of the inaugural Gifts & Lifestyle Middle East, a dedicated trade show for gifts, accents and lifestyle-related products, which takes place from 9-11 March at Dubai World Trade Centre.
The specialty trade show will also offer a platform for suppliers to showcase design-driven products and connect with design-driven products while bringing together a broad range of retailers under one roof, including lifestyle and gift stores, department stores, outlets, distributors, wholesalers, export-import and hotels, restaurants, café and bars as well as corporations and commercial end users.
Food is also given and the arrival of large, ornate platters of chocolates, dates and honey-coated Arabic sweets in homes and offices throughout the Emirates is commonplace in Eid whereas a visit to the home of Indian friend during Diwali would be successful when accompanied by a gift of richly decorated homeware, crystal or silverware.
In the UAE, corporate gifting says a lot about your business cred. Unlike in the West, the luxury corporate gift market has largely survived the belt tightening which followed the financial crisis and unusual gifts such as richly ornate snakeskin, gold embroidered or lavishly plumed hoods for falcons so treasured by falconers can command heady prices.
But corporate sensibilities are creeping into the marketplace. Businesses increasingly look for gifts that demonstrate specific core values and with climate change discussions now taking hold worldwide, a trend towards eco-friendly gifts is being detected. Environmentally friendly gifts can denote serious eco-credentials with ranges crafted from renewable or recycled materials now in corporate sights.
The same goes for creativity – giving gifts with unique designs which touch on the culture of the region of the giver or receiver – can leave lasting impressions of innovation. Demand for uniqueness and creativity is fostering whole new ranges of jewellery, dinnerware, glassware and artwork.
The culture of gift giving is transforming in the UAE – but to the beat of a multi-cultural drum which looks likely to stand the test of time.
More information is available at: https://gifts-lifestyle-middle-east.ae.messefrankfurt.com/