With 57,000 millionaires and 4,000 deca-millionaires in a population of 2.05 million, Qatar is ranked the world’s fastest growing luxury market. Ledbury Research’s annual Global Luxury Hotspots report released this week found that Qataris are the biggest buyers of luxury goods in the Middle East, but do most of their shopping in Dubai.
Mall of Qatar – planned to be the largest retail center in the Gulf State with 400 stores – is set to open its doors in September 2015 as part of the country’s infrastructure ramp-up for the 2022 Olympics. In our Digital IQ Index: Middle East Prestige report, we found the Middle East region to be overlooked not just in malls, but in e-commerce as well. The region’s first online mall Tejuri.com opened in March. Our report finds that 50% of shoppers in the Middle East visit a store’s website before heading to a physical retailer.
Among Middle Eastern countries – collectively an $8.5 billion market for luxury goods – Qatar has the highest percentage of millionaire households, 14.3%. Qatar’s GDP per Capita ($97,967) is materially higher than that of other Middle Eastern countries. (Runner up is the UAE, with a GDP per capita of $66,626.)
Few global brands have optimized on the opportunity for digital commerce in the Middle East. Only 2% had their regional page appear as the first search result. Follow up with consumers that signed up emails from brands was weak as well. That suggests an untapped market, especially when it comes to e-commerce.