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Fashion in the Middle East: Optimism and Transformation

BoF’s guide to why the Middle East has become the region to watch and what brands can do to tap into the new opportunities that this $89 billion market offers.

As fashion players scan the globe for growth opportunities in early 2023, it’s with good reason that many are now pivoting their focus towards the Middle East. Riding on the back of strong growth in 2022, several markets in the region increasingly offer both the local and international fashion industry avenues to expand their businesses. For brands and retailers that have the creative and financial bandwidth, this could translate into entirely new, or vastly expanded customer bases.

In “Fashion in the Middle East: Optimism and Transformation,” BoF Insights explores the region’s prolific growth opportunities for both mass market and luxury players, examining its market structure, customer behaviour and long-term industry trends via executive interviews, proprietary surveys alongside market sizing data from Euromonitor International, and style assortment and pricing data from Edited. 

Length: 108 pages
File Format: PDF

Table of Contents

  • Timeline of Key Phases in the Evolution of Fashion Industry in Middle East
  • Global Fashion Executives’ Optimism and Planned Investments in the Region vs Others 
  • Key Consumer, Product and Channel Shifts Defining What’s Next for Fashion in the Middle East 
  • Historic and Forecast Regional Fashion Market Growth to 2027
  • Regional Market Size and Growth Comparison vs US 
  • Regional Market Size Breakdown by Category 
  • Regional Market Share for Primary Markets UAE and KSA
  • Population Breakdown and Women’s Workforce Participation for UAE and KSA
  • Market Size and Growth Drivers for UAE and KSA 
  • Market Size and Growth Drivers for the Rest of the Region
  • Trends for Select Smaller Regional Markets 
  • Six Forces Redefining How Fashion Companies do Business in the Middle East
  • Relationships Between Local Conglomerates and Global Fashion Players
  • Key Roles of Local Retail Groups and Developers and Mall Operators 
  • Three Key Go-to-Market Strategies that Dominate Entry
  • Timeline of Select International Brand and Local Conglomerate Partnerships
  • Three Key Areas for Local Customisation 
  • Case Study: Farfetch’s Entry into Region Prioritises VIP Offering 
  • Case Study: Brands and Retailers’ Customised Offering for Region
  • Risk of Product Over-Localisation
  • Case Study: Cultural Empathy through Offering and China Comparison
  • Regional Fashion Calendar Overbooked During Ramadan
  • Case Study: Loro Piana and D&G’s Successful Luxury Brand Activations
  • Case Study: Distinct Customer Profiles Drive Global and Regional Style Mixing
  • Average Annual Spend on Fashion for the General Population and High Earners in UAE and KSA
  • Breakdown of Fashion Spend by Geography for the General Population and High Earners in UAE and KSA
  • Breakdown of Fashion Spend by Styles (Traditional, Contemporary Local and International) for UAE and KSA
  • Desired Brand Traits for the General Population and for High Earners in UAE and KSA
  • Top 15 Favourite Fashion Brands for UAE and KSA Consumers
  • Brands and Retailers Need to Adapt In-Store Experience and Offering
  • Case Study: Majid Al Futtaim’s That Concept Centers Experiential Retail
  • Four Trends Fuelling E-Commerce Growth
  • E-commerce Share of Overall Retailer Revenue in Region
  • UAE and KSA E-commerce Share of Fashion Market between 2018-2022 
  • Obstacles to E-Commerce for the General Population and for High Earners in UAE and KSA
  • Sources of Fashion Inspiration for the General Population and for High Earners in UAE and KSA
  • Preferred Social Media Platforms for Fashion Inspiration for UAE and KSA by Gender
  • Role of Regional Content Creators in Brand Campaigns
  • Luxury Brand In-Stock Offering for Women and Men in UAE and KSA vs US 
  • Luxury Brand Assortment by Category in UAE and KSA vs US
  • Case Study: Brands and Retailers Prioritise Formal Apparel and Accessories for Region
  • Consumer Intent to Purchase Different Fashion Categories by Gender in UAE and KSA
  • Mass Market Brand In-Stock Offering for Women and Men in UAE and KSA vs US 
  • Mass Market Brand Assortment by Category in UAE and KSA vs US
  • Pricing Comparison of Luxury Apparel Brands in UAE and KSA vs US 
  • Pricing Comparison of Mass Market Apparel Brands in UAE and KSA vs US 

Why Buy this Report

  • Analyses the fashion market in the Middle East with a deep focus on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (which together comprise approximately 50% of sales in the region)
  • Assesses major trends impacting the Middle East’s fashion industry, such as the proliferation of joint ventures and changes in the regulatory environment, the evolution of customer preferences, and the growth of customised products and offerings by international brands and retailers
  • Features proprietary research with UAE and KSA consumers, revealing their fashion budgets, local vs. international spend, the most in-demand brands, sources of inspiration, and the categories customers intend to spend the most on
  • Highlights case studies on Farfetch’s Middle East entry and Majid Al Futtaim’s That Concept Store, as well as strategic analysis of customisation and local activations of brands such as Prada, Christian Louboutin, Louis Vuitton, Yoox Net-A-Porter and Ounass
  • Unpacks tactics for brands and retailers to attract diverse customer profiles in the region 
  • Outlines the trajectories of e-commerce and social media in the region as complementary channels to malls 
  • Provides executive perspectives on the breadth of assortment and pricing strategy in the region

Research Inputs

  • Survey panel of approximately 2,000 participants (aged 18+ and demographically balanced) across the UAE and KSA 
  • 22 interviews with founders, CEOs and other senior executives from brands and retailers as well as consultants and creatives in the region
  • Market sizing data from Euromonitor International, a global market research firm
  • An analysis of UAE and KSA in-stock assortments and average unit prices indexed to the US for select luxury and mass market brands, enabled by data from Edited, a retail intelligence and AI-driven data insights company
  • In-person store audits and pulse interviews conducted in the region at department stores and mono-brand stores across both luxury and mass market segments
  • Featured companies include but not limited to: Adidas, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Chanel, Centrepoint, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Farfetch, Fendi, Gucci, H&M, Lacoste, Loro Piana, Louis Vuitton, Max Fashion, Net-a-Porter, Nike, Ounass, Prada, Splash, Zara