The economy in the UAE expanded by 7.8% in 2022, with the country's central international hub Dubai revealing that it intends to double the economy by 2033. The UAE has enjoyed transformational growth over the past 10-15 years, and it opens a wealth of exciting opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs. We look at the top 5 business opportunities in Dubai to give you an idea of some of the main markets and their direction in 2023 and beyond.
Analysis carried out by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce (DCC) estimates that the UAE e-commerce market will be worth $9.2bn by 2026.
Over the past few years, there has been a massive shift towards online shopping, with e-commerce sales growing from $2.6bn in 2019 to more than $4,8bn in 2021. This presents an enormous opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to set up online shopping portals in Dubai, with billions of dollars worth of growth expected in the coming years.
The DCC report estimates that one-third of consumers in the UAE buy a service or product at least once a week using their smartphone. Local retailers also account for 73% of all total sales, compared to 27% for international sites – although this is expected to grow to 34% by 2026.
The unexpected arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic saw a rapid increase in the digital transformation process, becoming a matter of survival for many. Whilst many businesses have already begun their digital journey, it is now a priority for entrepreneurs looking to start in Dubai.
Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City are prime locations for businesses operating in the IT sector, and demand continues to grow as industries such as logistics, banking, healthcare, insurance and hospitality are looking for digital solutions.
The growth of artificial intelligence and robotic automation will also play a vital role in the manufacturing sector, presenting a wealth of opportunities for new businesses ready to capitalise.
Logistics and e-commerce go hand-in-hand, with product deliveries and returns integral to the success of any online service. As online shopping demand continues to grow, so will the need for reliable logistic companies to meet scaling demand and offer the flexibility needed for an ever-changing consumer base.
Dubai's location makes it an attractive proposition for foreign investors and companies trading internationally, with access to air and sea transportation, moving goods fast and efficiently. When you factor in Dubai's plans to aggressively expand foreign trade and investment over the next ten years, it illustrates the critical role the logistics sector will continue to provide.
Food & Beverages
Dubai's food and beverage sector continues to lead the way, with the likes of catering companies, restaurants, bakeries, food truck businesses, food training companies and cloud kitchens all making a significant contribution to the local economy. With so much tourism in the country, there is a considerable demand for cuisines that represent the culture of Dubai and the UAE and that interest will only continue to expand over the coming years as the city becomes even more accessible.
From fresh produce to packaged foods, the food and beverage sector has grown year-on-year, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. And as the population in the city continues to grow and per capita income also rises, there will be an even more significant demand for high-quality food and beverage services and products.
In 2021, the UAE government revealed a bold plan to double the contribution of industrial manufacturing to 25% of the country's GDP. As a crucial part of the Operation 300bn strategy, the aim is to grow the manufacturing sector from AED 133 billion to AED 300 billion by 2031.
This will be achieved by encouraging international companies to launch new projects in the country whilst developing manufacturing activities at a local level. Areas of particular interest will be metals, building materials, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage and aerospace and defence equipment.
How can Charterhouse help to start up your own business in Dubai?
Charterhouse Lombard has a long and successful track record of helping entrepreneurs, investors, and businesses to get started in Dubai. We understand the many challenges you must overcome in establishing a business in the city, and our team of experts can guide you through every stage of the process.
We can take care of everything on your behalf so you can focus on other essential areas of your business. From managing the paperwork and legal aspects of your company set-up to helping you find the right office and offering ongoing administrative support, we remain on hand when you need us most.
Get in touch with the Charterhouse team today to learn more about setting up a company in Dubai; we'll be happy to help.