Topics: United Arab Emirates, Middle East, Saudi Arabia Pages: 5 (1561 words) Published: March 27, 2013
News Release: Luxury Retail Market Overview - Middle East
Chalhoub Group in partnership with Fondazione Altagamma Milan, 16th May 2011 Overview
The Gulf Area was the discussion topic in the conference organized in May 2011 by Fondazione Altagamma and Chalhoub Group. C-level management from various organizations debated the nature and stage of luxury retail in the Middle East region. Key speakers and panelists included: • Gabriella Scarpa - Chairman, Acqua di Parma

• Patrick Chalhoub - CO-CEO, Chalhoub Group
• Laudomia Pucci - Image Director, Emilio Pucci
• Santo Versace - Chairman, Fondazione Altagamma
• Armando Branchini - Executive Director, Fondazione Altagamma • Paolo Anselmi - Deputy Chairman, GFK-Eurisko
• Vittorio Missoni - Chairman, Missoni
• Stefano Sincini - CEO, Tod’s
• Massimo Piombini - Commercial Director WW, Valentino
According to Altagamma Consensus 2011 the luxury retail market in the Middle East* has total value of € 4.1 billion (approx. 2% of the total global luxury market) and is expected to further grow 10% - 12% by the year 2013. Due to peculiarity and continually evolving nature of the market key topics of panel discussion involved profiling the regional luxury retail consumers and characterising the upper class of the Arab world; debating relevant strategies and brand building operations luxury brands should adopt in order to succeed in the region.

The evolution of customs and lifestyles in the Middle East
In general, the richest countries in the Arab market were not as severely affected by the recent economic crisis than the West. According to Chalhoub Group the most promising cities for luxury consumption in the Gulf are Abu Dhabi (UAE), Riyadh (KSA) and Doha (Qatar). In the long term, despite of the recent political instabilities potential of Egypt, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Iran should not be underestimated either. All three countries have rapid population growth with a large proportion of young people.

The surveys conducted over the past years among the Arabian Peninsula population, particularly on that of the Emirates, show a large and rapid process of cultural modernization, which has supported the diffusion of economic prosperity produced initially by oil and later by the development of other sectors such as trade, tourism and above all the real estate industry. The spread of economic prosperity has provided access to growing segments of the population to higher education degrees. And this in turn has lead to a progressive opening of information first through universal access to traditional media such as newspapers and television and then - more recently - to new media, from satellite television to the Internet.

* Countries; Oman, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq and Iran, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon

Attachment to traditions
Living conditions have changed in a profound way and modernization has transformed the traditional way of life. However, important to remember that there are still some peculiarities in these countries that concern the relationship with tradition and must always be kept in mind, in particular with religious tradition.

In the countries of Arab culture, even in the most “Western” in terms of culture and lifestyle, modernization never means secularization or separation from religion. It should also be noted, however, that in the Middle East fundamentalists are a small minority. Religious fanaticism is practically absent, and the vast majority of the population is peaceful and tolerant. But respect for tradition remains a benchmark that has many implications.

Tradition is the foundation of a strong sense of national and regional identity. It means that family remains the pivot around which everyday private and social life turns. Especially women often share the act of purchasing with members of their family such as mother, sisters, and sisters – in – law. Consumers seem to live without conflict between attachment to...
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