Navigating a New Retail Reality

Regional Views
Navigating a new retail reality

Depressed oil revenues, rising supply chain prices and the global pandemic have drained much of the retail sector. But while lockdowns ease, the brick-and-mortar retail sector is expected to start recovering only slowly and to remain below pre-COVID levels until mid-next year at the earliest. The experience of going to the mall, dining out and shopping will attract local shoppers because travel is limited — but this will not offset the overall decline, nor the recent growth of e-commerce. We explore the impact of the pandemic on the GCC retail sector and highlight:

  • The push-pull factors that can drive brick-and-mortar growth again;
  • The impact of government austerity measures on consumer spending; 
  • The growth of e-commerce and the role it is playing in reviving overall retail sales.


Florence Eid-Oakden, Ph.D, Chief Economist

Ghalia Al Bajali, Nancy Bou Dakka, Analysts

The Regional Views series are thematic papers aimed at identifying and analysing factors behind medium to long-term economic trends shaping the region. Our analysis draws conclusions that help businesses and investors get ahead of the curve. As a firm staffed by Middle Easterners, we focus on insight rather than standard analysis.

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