Abu Dhabi, 27 September 2020

Public-private sector collaboration shows sector resilience and delivers emirate’s most economically impactful summer season promotion ever

Retail Abu Dhabi’s ‘Unbox Amazing’ shopping promotion, which ran throughout July and August across the emirate, achieved record-breaking sales of more than AED 2 billion in 3,500 participating stores, according to new data released by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi).

Equating to weekly spend of AED 250 million on eligible Visa cards alone, Retail Abu Dhabi’s most successful summer promotion to date has negated the impact of Covid-19 to achieve incredible year-on-year increases of 31% in total spend and 23% in total transactions. The results have delivered a strong boost to the regional retail market and highlighted the emirate’s safe shopping and dining offerings to residents and visitors alike.

The highly successful collaboration, which included 21 malls and more than 3,500 retailers, was driven by DCT Abu Dhabi, bringing together the Department’s dedicated retail platform with the Department of Economic Development – Abu Dhabi (DED); Visa, the world’s digital payments leader; four participating banks including Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Al Hilal Bank and First Abu Dhabi Bank; and Etihad Airways.  

HE Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi, praised the ambitious campaign’s impact as it achieved record shopping expenditure, boosted the emirate’s retail sector and also supported malls reopening in-line with the destination’s wider ‘Rediscover Abu Dhabi’ campaign.

“Everyone has been a winner,” said HE Al Shaiba. “The retail sector has demonstrated its immense diversity and resilience, and Abu Dhabi has achieved a reputational boost in terms of its promotional capabilities as a leading regional shopping destination. Strategic alliances have helped deliver an economically impactful summer retail experience for retailers and consumers, with supporting culinary promotions serving to increase domestic tourism appeal and residual spend.”

Retail Abu Dhabi’s ‘Unbox Amazing’ featured exclusive offers from more than 40 brands during the region’s first online-offline shopping experience, an innovative event which was hosted by Arabian fashion icon Raya Abirached. The three-hour virtual programme also featured a ‘virtual cover’ interview with Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima. Shoppers also enjoyed access to exclusive-to-Abu Dhabi products from brands including Saint Laurent, Hermès, Burberry, Prada, Miu Miu, Fendi, Bulgari, Piaget, Cartier, Jimmy Choo, Van Cleef & Arpels and many more.

Running alongside Retail Abu Dhabi’s ‘Unbox Amazing’ in participating malls and hotels, the emirate’s residents and visitors also had the chance to enjoy another DCT Abu Dhabi initiative, a dedicated summer culinary campaign called ‘Travel Through Food’, which enhanced the already popular Abu Dhabi Culinary Season. 

The initiative gave residents and visitors access to an extensive showcase of Abu Dhabi’s culinary offerings through unmissable food deals from more than 400 venues, Chef’s Table specials at fine dining outlets including Coya, Punjab Grill and Fouquet amongst others, and tailored ‘dine and stay’ packages.

With Retail Abu Dhabi, Visa and partner banks encouraging contactless payment throughout the campaign, eligible Visa cardholders that spent AED 200 or more in participating outlets were automatically entered into Shop & Win draws to win AED 3.5 million in prizes – ranging from Mercedes Benz cars from Emirates Motor Company, to the latest tech products from Sharaf DG, school fees, staycations, homeware bundles and more. 

“We are thrilled to see the great results of the Retail Abu Dhabi ‘Unbox Amazing’ campaign and are proud of Visa’s partnership with DCT Abu Dhabi, and thankful to our partner banks that helped make this happen,” said Shahebaz Khan, Visa’s General Manager for the UAE. “The results show just how important offering rewarding, convenient and secure payment experiences are to rebuilding consumer confidence in retail in this new environment and moving forward. We continue to be optimistic about the resilience of Abu Dhabi’s retail sector and remain committed to supporting local businesses navigate the COVID-19 environment to accelerate the UAE’s retail sector recovery.”

A Retail Abu Dhabi partnership with Etihad, which complemented the massive Shop & Win promotion, also saw one million Etihad Guest miles split into prizes of 250,000 miles for four winners from the four participating banks. Winners can now use the miles towards their next holiday or select products of their choice at the Etihad Guest Reward Shop.

Yasser Al Yousuf, Vice President Commercial Partnerships, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “The Etihad Guest proposition has expanded far beyond flying, and we are proud of the success achieved through the ‘Unbox Amazing’ campaign where we partnered with DCT Abu Dhabi, Visa and our bank partners to drive value and support Abu Dhabi retailers and Etihad Guest Visa payment cardholders at a time when they are spending more locally.”

Consumer confidence was also boosted by ‘Unbox Amazing’ retailers aligning with DCT Abu Dhabi’s ‘Go Safe’ Certification, which enforces exacting safety and hygiene standards across the emirate’s hotels, attractions, malls, restaurants, theme parks and public venues. Safety measures included weekly testing of all retail and restaurant staff at malls, thermal scanning at mall entry points for shoppers, who are also asked to wear protective masks, the implementation of social distance shopping throughout malls, stores, cafes and restaurants, and regular cleaning and disinfection of all participating outlets. Contactless transactions are widely encouraged to limit person-to-person contact whilst all staff working in Abu Dhabi’s retail sector undergo regular COVID-19 testing.

Participating malls in Retail Abu Dhabi’s ‘Unbox Amazing’ campaign included Abu Dhabi Mall, Al Ain Mall, Al Foah Mall, Al Jimi Mall, Al Raha Mall, Al Wahda Mall, Barari Outlet Mall, Bawabat Al Sharq Mall, Bawadi Mall, City Center Masdar, Dalma Mall, Deerfields, The Galleria Al Maryah Island, Hili Mall, Khalidyah Mall, Marina Mall, Mazyad Mall, Mushrif Mall, Ruwais Mall, World Trade Centre Mall and Yas Mall.