Online F&B sales in UAE surge 255% in 2020: Dubai Chamber

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Online sales within the UAE's food and beverage market surged a whopping 255 per cent year-on-year in 2020 to reach $412 million (AED 1.51 billion).

That's according to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry's latest analysis, which predicts the total sales value to reach $619 million (AED 2.27 billion) by 2025, and a record compound annual growth (CAGR) of 8.5 per cent over the 2020-2025 period.

The figures, based on data from Euromonitor, were released by the Chamber during the Gulfood Breakfast Briefing event, which was organised on the sidelines of the Gulfood 2021 exhibition in Dubai.

The session was attended by 270 participants from 43 countries and they were briefed about Dubai’s economy, business landscape and industry trends, as well as new market opportunities on the horizon.

Hassan Al Hashemi, Vice President of International Relations at Dubai Chamber, identified the COVID-19-led digital transformation as a key factor driving the exponential growth in F&B e-commerce sales last year, adding that Dubai’s advanced technology infrastructure, world-class logistics facilities, high-Internet penetration rate and high disposable income among consumers are also key elements that supported the upward trend.

The remarkable progress achieved by the UAE’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign, increased national efforts to enhance food security, Expo 2020 Dubai and newly introduced incentives to attract foreign investment to the country will also play a major role in sustaining the local F&B industry’s growth in the near future, he explained. 

In addition, Al Hashemi stressed Dubai Chamber’s strong commitment to identifying attractive trade opportunities in the F&B market and facilitating global partnerships that boost and diversifies the UAE’s food trade with other countries.

A presentation, delivered by Dr. Nizami Imamverdiyev, Economic Researcher - Economic Research & Business Development at Dubai Chamber, revealed that the UAE recorded 6 per cent growth in sales of fresh food products in 2020, which reached $7.9 billion and recorded 4 per cent growth in sales of canned food products during the same year.

Referring to the Dubai market specifically, the presentation identified India as the emirate’s top food trade partner in 2020, with products imported from the Asian country accounting for 19 per cent of all food imports, followed by New Zealand (13 per cent), Pakistan (9 per cent), the USA, Egypt and Canada (4 per cent).

Legumes accounted for about 17 per cent of the total food products imported by Dubai during 2020, followed by powdered milk (14 per cent), rice (13 per cent), sugar (9 per cent), onions (7 per cent) and potatoes (5 per cent).

The presentation also noted that sugar was a top product re-exported from Dubai to foreign markets in 2020, followed by legumes and dates.

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