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Affordable luxury in Dubai goes digital and physical

With improved logistics capabilities, quicker shipping and hassle-free returns, single and multi luxury brand retailers are helping consumers feel more comfortable with these online purchases. Is brick and mortar dead?

The luxury industry was estimated at more than $11 billion in 2019 in the UAE THE LIST has raised $2.4 million in previous funding and is based in Dubai, with offices in Lisbon Dubai’s propensity to organize big sales events and shopping festivals makes it a unique venue to make purchases in person

Buyers of luxury products are typically ‘touchy-feely’ and for good reasons. It’s expensive and they want to make sure that money is well spent. COVID-19 put a crack in this theory and made consumers of high-end watches, clothing, and art buy online, especially in the United Arab Emirates, a hub for affordable luxury.

With improved logistics capabilities, quicker shipping and hassle-free returns, single and multi luxury brand retailers are helping consumers feel more comfortable with these online purchases. 

GlobalWebIndex, a leading market research company, reported that among respondents who’ve delayed buying luxury items due to the pandemic, over 50% will buy more items online using home delivery once it’s over. Additionally, 77% of luxury buyers agree that what matters the most when buying such a product or service is the community and experience built around it.

Does this mean that brick and mortar affordable luxury is on its way out globally and especially in the UAE?  

Far from it.

Affordable luxury market

The luxury industry, with an estimated value of more than $11 billion in 2019 in the UAE, was one of the industries hit hardest during the pandemic but is now thriving due to this high proliferation of online luxury goods. 

GoBazzar, a newly launched Dubai-based e-commerce platform, reported research by Ernst & Young saying that 92% of consumers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia had changed their shopping habits in favor of online shopping.

The footfall decline at the brick-and-mortar stores also meant that sales got a big hit, forcing most retailers to hurriedly adopt digital strategies to remain in business.

Another recent by study global consultancy firm Kearney Middle East, which also included the UAE and KSA, revealed that up to 40% of respondents are now shopping online more than they were before the novel coronavirus outbreak was announced.

The UAE’s e-commerce growth is estimated to reach $27 bn by 2022, according to global research giant Statista.

Read: WARC releases Guide to E-commerce and the Future of Effectiveness

Investment dollars into mobile luxury retail

THE LIST, a Dubai-based mobile luxury fashion, and lifestyle platform announced that it has received a strategic investment from Nervora, a multi-platform media company known for its publications including Vogue Arabia and WIRED Middle East.

The investment was secured ahead of THE LIST’s Series A funding round and will primarily be used to continue the expansion of the company’s technology platform, further develop its offering, and reaffirm the brand’s positioning as a leading and innovative mobile luxury player in the region.  

THE LIST was founded in March 2016 by Andreas Skorski who digitally connected retailers and customers after realizing that certain brands and products were either not available in the Middle East or only at marked-up prices.

THE LIST has raised $2.4 million in previous rounds of funding and is based in Dubai, with offices in Lisbon.

Affordable luxury retailers


GoBazzar, a Dubai-based e-commerce platform, has launched today (October 20) a comparison-shopping portal that is set to give online shoppers an opportunity to search, compare and view lists of products and prices offered by different merchants, all under one roof. The site has over one million products in major categories including electronics, fashion, home appliances, personal care, and more.

GoBazzar plans a growth path to acquire over one million active users in the UAE alone within the first six months of operation. 

Luxury Closet

The Luxury Closet is an online boutique for buying and selling new and pre-loved luxury items. Its catalog includes top luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Piaget, Chanel, and more, at up to 70% off.
The site guarantees 100% authenticity of the more than 16,000 unique items it offers and takes care of the delivery and the returns.  To sell items, you can visit the site page.


Ounass presents carefully-curated exclusive capsule collections from local and international designers of the highest caliber, housing the Middle East’s widest range of top-tier designers. From fashion and beauty to lifestyle and homeware, Ounass has boasted over 300 luxury brands since launching in December 2016 as Al Tayer Group’s first, exclusively digital, luxury e-commerce site.

Based in Dubai, the company provides a 2-hour delivery in the city and same-day delivery service within the UAE, as well as express delivery to KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain & Qatar.   


FARFETCH is a leading global platform for the luxury fashion industry connects customers in over 190 countries, including the UAE with items from more than 50 countries and nearly 1,300 of the world’s TOP brands, boutiques, and department stores, giving access to an extensive selection of luxury on a single platform.


Goshopia is a Dubai e-commerce platform dedicated to sustainable fashion, introducing environmentally friendly and socially sustainable products. 

The private Label 

The Private Label is adept at finding emerging designers from both the streetwear and luxury sectors. Order by 10 a.m. in Dubai and you’ll receive same-day shipping for free.


MarkaVIP and its app offer classic and modern timepieces from Burberry to Gucci, Tag Heuer to Versace watches but at great discounts.  You can pre-select the items that you wanted and save them for future purchases. Some great deals last for three hours only but at up to an 80% discount. 

Read: GCC e-commerce sector to reach $50 billion by 2025, boosted by COVID-19 consumer trends

Brick and Mortar affordable luxury

Dubai’s propensity to organize big sales events and shopping festivals makes it a unique venue to make purchases in person and affordable luxury is no different here.

1. Dubai Shopping Festival

It is best to visit Dubai and buy branded items for less during the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), happening around December to February every year. Usually, 700 brands participate in more than 3,000 outlets that offer discounts up to 90% during DSF.

2. Brands for Less

It offers a wide variety of apparels presented by famous commercial brands such as Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, Dockers, DKNY to name a few, at very low prices.

Other good deals are available on home décor, perfumes, cosmetics, electronics as well.

3. The Outlet Village

At the Outlet Village, you might spend your entire day shopping, as they offer countless high-end retail brands under one roof.

From designer clothes to cosmetics, perfumes to shoes, belts to watches, electronics to household products, the Outlet Village has everything in-store at value prices.