Despite recent regional lockdowns in light of the global pandemic, the fashion industry in the UAE is booming. Digital trends are shaping the retail landscape across the region, most notably with a shift towards eCommerce shopping.
The digitization of the fashion industry is guaranteed to govern the industry trajectory in coming years, meaning fashion brands must adopt their marketing tactics to cater to a modern digital audience.
In this article, we take a look at the current state of the fashion industry in the UAE and how digital marketing is helping brands to increase sales.
Overview: State of Fashion in the UAE 2021
Fashion is an important business in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
According to the Statista Market Forecast, revenue in the fashion industry is projected to reach a whopping US$2,337 million in 2021, growing at an annual growth rate of 11.88% by 2025 to reach a projected market volume of $3,662 million. The largest market segment is apparel, with a projected market volume of US$1,516m in 2021. It’s predicted that 32% of total market value will be generated via eCommerce and online sales by 2023. One of the leading fashion retailers in the region is Max Fashion which was launched in 2004 in UAE and is now enjoying an increase in their online sales for the mid-market segment. The fashion retailer has over 575 stores across the Middle East, North Africa and India and to prove it’s increasing popularity, in August 2021, a metro station was even named “Max Fashion” in Dubai, as reported by the Gulf News.
The Majid Al Futtaim State of UAE Retail Economy reveals a number of insightful findings about the wider retail and fashion industry in the UAE. The report reveals that despite the difficulties posed by the global pandemic, consumer business in the UAE remains resilient. Although the retail market experienced a drop of 12% during the pandemic, it’s important to note the role that eCommerce businesses played in response to Covid-19. Digitisation in the UAE fashion industry has accelerated. In fact, eCommerce sales transactions have increased twofold since 2019 and 30% by February 2021. An estimated 7-9% of fashion purchases now take place online.
Despite the effects of the pandemic, the report shows clear signs that the consumer market is returning to its previous state. UAE residents are spending more, and mall retail sales increased by 10% year on year in March 2021.
According to Alain Bejjani, Chief Executive Officer at Majid Al Futtaim – Holding:
“In 2020, we experienced a rapid shift from established consumer patterns to the need for emerging innovation, like e-commerce, to meet customers’ changing needs. The report findings come at a time when the nation’s dedicated vaccination program is offering a real sense of hope and confidence, following an undeniably tough year for everyone. Today, we see a renewed sense of optimism that retail in the UAE will effectively recover, and our inaugural State of the UAE Retail Economy report underlines this. With comprehensive data-driven insights, our report findings will empower our stakeholders to make clearly informed business or policy-related decisions which, over time, will contribute to the wider UAE economy. I am confident that the promising signs we’ve seen from the first few months of 2021 will continue to drive a positive outlook on economic recovery as we continue to adapt to a post-COVID-19 world.”
Key factors influencing consumer behaviors and buying patterns include digitization, careful spending, and sustainability.
As digital shopping increases in popularity, fashion businesses must adapt their marketing strategies to cater to a digital audience as well as a physical one. Moreover, shifting attitudes to the spending of millennials and younger audiences are changing consumer habits as they seek to invest in more experiential and emotional purchases. There’s also the UAE’s growing concern with sustainability, with 66% expressing concerns about the environment and the impact of their purchases (including fashion purchases) on the planet.
How digital marketing helped increase sales for fashion brands in the region
In recent years, the fashion industry in the UAE has experienced a huge shift towards digitization. Nowadays, the whole retail world has gone digital. You only have to look at powerhouse online retailers like Amazon to understand the convenience and ease that this style of shopping brings to the lives of consumers. People can buy clothes, electronics, and even food with a simple click and have it delivered straight to their door. This has changed the way fashion brands market their products.
Shops are now available online. Consumers can buy with ease from their smartphones or browsers on eCommerce platforms. Apparel is the most commonly searched and purchased retail category on smartphones around the world. As a result, fashion merchandisers are seeking to increase their online presence to serve digital customers in the best way possible. If UAE fashion brands want to increase their sales, having a highly functional website is crucial.
However, having a great website isn’t all there is to it. Businesses are adopting digital marketing strategies to help boost sales and attract consumers. Next, we take a look at some great digital strategies and trends that are helping fashion retailers succeed in the current digital landscape.
Top digital marketing strategies for fashion businesses in the UAE
1. Market to the right audience
One of the first things that digital marketers will tell you is that you need to cater to the right audience. Develop buyer personas that outline your ideal customers. Answer questions about their demographics, needs, problems, and online behaviors to create a rounded picture of what they’re looking for and how you can best serve them.
Once you know exactly who your audience is, you can align your marketing efforts to suit their needs.
In terms of eCommerce, this means you’ll be able to make product suggestions based on their previous encounters with your website. Tailor your content marketing, email marketing, and social media efforts to their interests. Consumers are more loyal and likely to purchase from brands that treat them like human beings, rather than numbers on a report.
2. Social media marketing
Another sure-fire digital marketing strategy to help increase sales for your fashion brand is to use social media marketing. Running a successful brand is closely tied to having a social media presence that customers can interact with. Nowadays, social media is about more than simply sharing information and branding. Popular platforms like Facebook and Instagram have even launched their eCommerce functionality so brands can sell directly from their social media pages.
Not only can you use your social media profiles to sell and promote new clothing lines, but you can use them to directly engage with your target audience. Encourage customers to tag your page on Instagram when they’re photographed in your clothing, or run competitions and promotions. You can also connect with local influencers to promote your products to a wider audience. Moreover, social media can be used as a customer service tool to respond to customer queries and return requests.
3. Content marketing
Content marketing is another great way to increase sales for your UAE fashion business. Content marketing is all about sharing valuable content with your audience to educate or entertain them without expecting anything in return. Basically, content marketing helps your brand to grow organically without seeming overly self-promotional.
Use different types of content to engage your audience. Write blog posts about your business, its values, or current fashion trends. Be sure to include keywords related to the topic to capture your audience and what they’re searching for as this will improve search engine rankings.
Although it doesn’t result in direct sales, content marketing is a great way to increase website visibility. Once users are on your website or blog, you can direct them to specific product pages with effective fashion CTAs.
Consider reaching out to popular online fashion magazines or fashion blogs about guest posts, which will help to further increase online visibility and generate leads. You might also create fashion-themed videos, infographics, or podcasts to engage your audience.
4. Email marketing
Email marketing is another great digital marketing strategy to engage visitors to your fashion eCommerce platform.
Encourage visitors to sign up for a weekly or monthly newsletter where you send them regular updates about new products, trends, or discounts. This way your customers can feel like a part of your “inner circle” as they’re the first ones to hear about new products, seasonal trends, or discount codes. This is a sure-fire way to build relationships with your customers and keep them coming back for more.
Take your fashion business to new heights with digital marketing
The fashion industry in the UAE is dynamic and exciting. With the rise of eCommerce and digital marketing within the region, fashion brands must update their marketing strategies to align with shifting consumer demands and expectations.
One of the first steps towards successfully marketing a fashion brand in the UAE is to know your audience. Before you start developing digital strategies to attract, engage, and delight customers, you’ll need to develop buyer personas that reflect your ideal customers.
This way, you can better tailor your digital marketing efforts to attract the right kind of customers and succeed as a fashion business in the UAE.
Ready to get to know your audience? Download our buyer persona template and get started!