In the Middle East, local proximity trade has always been the most widespread. However, over the last five years, consumer trends have changed. While local shops still exist, large supermarkets such as Carrefour have penetrated the market in a way that is adaptive to the trends and needs of consumers in the region.
The market has also been affected by the pandemic, albeit positively, as consumers have been more at home, spending more on the shopping basket and going out less to restaurants and takeaways, therefore retail sales volume increased by 13% in 2020, only to decrease in 2021 after the relaxation of restrictions in the cities.
In this article we will look at the new trends in supermarkets in the UAE which have adapted to the needs and customs of the Middle East region’s society. Let’s get started!
What supermarkets are in the UAE?
Currently the retail distribution in the UAE is very fragmented. West Zone is the leading supermarket in the UAE with 18% market share in retail sales, although this supermarket has adapted to the needs of the consumer, it is known for its large number of stores in the country but also its investment in improving the online shopping service. It is followed by Al Maya Supermarket with 13.3% of retail sales volume in the UAE and finally Carrefour, both of which have a strong presence throughout the Middle East region.
Top 5 Supermarkets in UAE
Brand Shares of Supermarkets
% Share (LBN) – Retail Value RSP excl Sales Tax – 2021
|Al Maya Supermarket
|Al Madina Supermarket
Opportunities and new trends in UAE supermarkets
Autonomous delivery solutions in UAE supermarkets
In 20121, Majid Al Futtaim announced in 2021 he was partnering with Russian tech giant Yandex to test autonomous technology solutions, which could enhance Carrefour’s delivery capabilities in the UAE. This will make Carrefour the first omni-channel retailer to use self-directed robots to deliver online orders in the region.
Supermarkets’ online shop expansions
It is clear that the importance of food retailers adopting an omni-channel approach is key to being able to compete in the UAE market. Spinney’s is a case in point, which has expanded its online service and implemented new products on its shelves.
The country is moving toward sustainability
The trend to protect the planet is evident in the marketing strategies of supermarkets, with many supermarkets starting to offer products that require reusable containers. In addition, local and organic produce is being promoted, which is a new trend in the UAE.
Top 5 Companies of Supermarkets in UAE
Company Shares of Supermarkets
% Share (NBO) – Retail Value RSP excl Sales Tax – 2021
|New West Zone Supermarket & Department Store LLC
|Al Maya Group
|Majid Al Futtaim Hypermarkets LLC
|Spinneys Dubai LLC
|Al Madina Group