Dubai Duty-Free Hits Record Sales in 2023, China Ranks as Third Largest Market

1月 16, 2024

Dubai’s travel retailer Dubai Duty Free recently announced its 2023 data: Sales reached 7.885 billion dirhams, a 24.39% increase over the previous year, setting a new historical high. Compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019, there was a growth of 6.4%. The total number of transactions for the year exceeded 20 million, averaging 55,000 per day, or about 40 per minute.

Market-wise, 90% of sales were from the departure sector, 8% from arrivals, and 2% from online sales.

India was the largest source market, with sales amounting to 973 million dirhams, followed by Russia (759 million dirhams), China (564 million dirhams), Saudi Arabia (512 million dirhams), and the United Kingdom (373 million dirhams).

Before the pandemic, Chinese travelers accounted for 4% of Dubai International Airport’s passengers but contributed 17% to Dubai Duty Free’s sales — in 2023, this ratio dropped to 7.5%.

In terms of product categories, perfumes were the best-selling, totaling 1.366 billion dirhams and accounting for 17% of total sales.

Other popular categories included liquor (1.13 billion dirhams, 14% of sales), gold (773 million dirhams, 10%), cigarettes and tobacco (745 million dirhams, 9%), and electronics (628 million dirhams, 8%).

Before the pandemic, Chinese travelers’ favorite shopping category was cosmetics, contributing 34.2% of the sales — in 2023, this dropped to about 16%.

Cosmetics were not a focus for Indian consumers, making up only about 2% of sales, with perfumes accounting for 11%, and the consumption of wine, spirits, and gold respectively at 29% and 17%.

Dubai Duty Free celebrated its 40th anniversary in December 2023, with sales for the month (holiday season) reaching a record 807.6 million dirhams, an 8% increase over the previous year.

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, said: “We are delighted to have achieved our annual sales target, with December’s sales setting a new historical high, as did our sales for 2023.”

According to the Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, the number of tourists entering Dubai during the holiday season in 2023 set a new record. From December 27, 2023, to January 1, 2024, over 1.2 million passengers passed through Dubai’s ports. December 30, 2023, was the peak day of this period, with a single-day passenger count of 224,380.

In 2024, Dubai Duty Free will enhance its retail business, undertaking a major renovation of Hall B, which is nearing completion. Meanwhile, two perfume and cosmetics stores in Area A and a fashion zone will begin renovation in the second quarter and are expected to be completed in early to mid-2025.

In addition to retail, Dubai Duty Free also operates a leisure and hospitality division, including The Irish Village and Studio One Hotel, Century Village, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, and Jumeirah Creekside Hotel. Moreover, Dubai Duty Free organizes sporting events, including the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

The high-end travel retail sector saw increased activity, and in December 2023, visited two international airports highly frequented by the global high-net-worth clientele: Zurich Airport in Switzerland and Hamad Airport in Qatar, to understand the latest developments in airport high-end retail.

Exchange rate at time of writing: 1 USD = 0.27 Dirham

 | Source: press release, globalcosmeticsnews, Gulf Business Insight, Dubai Duty Free official website

 | Image Credit: Dubai Duty Free official website

丨Reporter:Liu Jun

 | Editor: LeZhi