This year’s Abu Dhabi Summer Shopping and Dining Season, which ran for 10 weeks from 17 June to 31 August, has defied the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by recording impressive growth in retail spending.
Led by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi’s (DCT Abu Dhabi) industry enablers, Retail Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Culinary, the summer campaign achieved a record 56% year-on-year growth in sales using Visa cards alone across 24 malls and 4,000 stores, as reported by Visa, the global digital payment leader and strategic partner of Abu Dhabi Shopping and Dining Season.
“Supporting both the retail and F&B sectors is a key mandate for DCT Abu Dhabi and plays a critical role in boosting economic growth and uplifting consumer engagement across the emirate,” said HE Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi. “We are delighted by the extraordinary results that have been achieved. This successful seasonal campaign has again demonstrated the strength of the emirate’s retail and culinary sectors, as well as confirming DCT Abu Dhabi’s commitment to delivering compelling experiences across our ever-expanding calendar of themed promotions and events.”
The successful campaign saw several first-in-the-region promotions and interactive experiences, including Summer of Style, Summer of Ice Cream, and Summer of Offers.
The highlights of Summer of Style included a stylists programme featuring appearances from global trendsetters Anna Dello Russo and Anya Ziourova; a fashion gala dinner with music icon Rita Ora; Summer Sessions, a full week of home styling and fashion workshops; and a line-up of exclusive pieces from luxury brands including Burberry, Dior, Fendi and more.
Summer of Ice Cream included the region’s first Ice Cream Lab pop-up at Yas Mall, where the Guinness World Record was broken for the ‘Most Varieties of Ice cream on Display’. The initiative also included an exciting line-up of international, new-to-region brands such as Dyce, Pan-n-Ice and Eiswelt Gelato.
Abu Dhabi Culinary engaged with more than 30 restaurants to deliver exclusive summer menus, alongside collaborations with renowned chef Reif Othman and Emirati culinary master Faisal as part of the ‘Food Forward Series’.
“We are proud that our partnership with DCT Abu Dhabi has delivered yet another successful campaign,” said Shahebaz Khan, Visa’s General Manager for UAE. “We believe in giving consumers choice in how they want to pay and these great results of the Abu Dhabi Summer Shopping and Dining Season show us that
this is what our increasingly savvy UAE consumers are after. Even as the pandemic situation continues to improve, offering rewarding and secure payment experiences will remain critical for retailers to thrive in the new ‘normal’.”
As part of the strategic partnership with Visa, customers were incentivised to spend AED 200 or more, using their Visa card, at all participating outlets for a chance to win a brand-new car.
Etihad Airways joined the campaign’s network of partners, offering incentives to shoppers such as prize giveaways of four million Etihad Guest Miles. The collaboration supported Abu Dhabi retailers and also rewarded loyal Etihad Guest Visa card holders.
“Our partnership with DCT Abu Dhabi reflects our ongoing enthusiasm in supporting the emirate’s tourism rebound and incentivising consumers across Abu Dhabi’s retail and culinary segments. The successful Abu Dhabi Summer Shopping and Dining Season complements Etihad Airways’ vision to make the UAE capital the ultimate travel, shopping, and dining destination,” said Kim Hardaker, Head of Loyalty and Partnerships at Etihad Airways.
The various consumer offers and activities all operated within best-practice safety guidelines issued by local and global authorities, and in partnership with the Department of Economic Development – Abu Dhabi (DED Abu Dhabi).
“Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development is keen to contribute to the success of DCT Abu Dhabi seasonal campaigns, which are witnessing a large turnout of citizens, residents, visitors and tourists. We strive to facilitate the procedures for issuing permits associated with offers and advertisements implemented by the retail sector to attract the largest segment of shoppers,” said Rabih Al Hajri, Acting Executive Director of the Abu Dhabi Business Centre.
Contributing to overall industry growth, several major new initiatives are set to launch before the end of the year, including Semi Permanent Middle East, the region’s first creativity and design festival; the return of Abu Dhabi Culinary Season; and FUTR World, an innovative retail festival.