Dubai ranks as the top shopping city for Muslim travellers

Muslim travellers spent about $9.3bn on shopping within 40 cities in 2014, new survey finds



Dubai has been ranked the top destination worldwide for Muslims to travel to for shopping, according to a new report by MasterCard and CrescentRating.

The Muslim Travel Shopping Index 2015 analysed Muslim travellers’ shopping habits across 40 international destinations against a number of factors such as a city’s suitability as a shopping destination, its Muslim-friendly services and facilities, its ease of travel and family friendliness.

Dubai topped the list with a score of 79.5 out of 100, followed by Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur with a score of 73.3. Singapore, London and Istanbul rounded up the top five.

MENA division president at MasterCard Raghu Malhotra said, “With 108 million Muslim travellers representing 10 per cent of the entire travel economy in 2014, and forecasted to grow even further to 150 million visitors by 2020, it is evident this segment of the travel market represents a huge opportunity for both public and private sector organisations.”

Total expenditure of Muslim travellers visiting the 40 cities included in the report amounted to $36bn in 2014. Of this total expenditure, $9.3bn (26 per cent) was spent on shopping, the report said.

It also found that 27 per cent of respondents spend between $250 – $500 on shopping while travelling, 24 per cent spend between $500 – $1,000, and 20 per cent spend over $1,000.

When travelling, 55 per cent still prefer to use cash for purchases while 35 per cent prefer using credit cards and 6 per cent use debit cards.

While 56 per cent of respondents shop for souvenirs as typical purchases, 45 per cent shop for local clothing brands. Up to 40 per cent buy Islamic clothing and accessories, while 38 per cent opt for traditional handicrafts, the report added.

Dubai has been focussing on building its tourism industry with plans to attract 20 million visitors to the emirate by 2020. At the same time, the city is also striving to become an international hub for the Islamic economy.

According to a report by Thomson Reuters and Dubai authorities, the global Islamic economy has a potential value of $6.7 trillion.

The report estimates that Muslim consumers’ global expenditure on the media, food, and lifestyle sectors such as cosmetics and tourism is forecast to touch $2.47 trillion by 2018.