Leading Emirati and Saudi brands growing faster than global rivals


Leading Emirati and Saudi brands have more than doubled their total value in the past two years, with 110 per cent growth and total value of $106 billion.

In the retail sector, Dubai’s Emaar and Riyadh’s Jarir Bookstore are leading the way.

Kantar BrandZ, the largest global brand equity study, provides insight into four million consumers of 18,000 brands across 512 categories in 50 markets. This year’s ranking is based on opinions of 39,143 Emirati and Saudi consumers, and 695 brands across 53 categories.

Kantar BrandZ Top 30 ranks Jarir Bookstore as the sixth most valuable Saudi brand this year, while Emaar is the fifth most valuable UAE brand and 10th overall in both countries.

Emaar Properties may see its profitability rise slightly between 2022 and 2023 after a strong 2021, despite increasing inflation, according to an S&P Global Ratings report.

Strong retail sales in Emaar Malls Management LLC, the wholly owned shopping malls and retail arm of Emaar Properties, supported a rental rate recovery similar to pre-Covid-19 levels, with a 57 per cent revenue rebound, excluding Namshi.

This growth in rental rates is largely in line with pre-Covid-19 levels, as tenant sales in 2022 exceeded pre-Covid-19 levels, propelling the retail sector forward from its contraction in 2020.

Fuelled by record tenant sales at The Dubai Mall, Emaar Malls recorded 30 per cent growth in H1 2022 revenue compared to the same period last year, reaching AED 2.661 billion ($725 million).

Emaar Mall Management achieved H1 EBITDA of AED 1.644 million ($448 million), 66 per cent higher growth than H1 2021. The leasing occupancy of Emaar Malls Management’s assets stood at 94 per cent by last August.

Dubai Hills Mall, another leg of the Emaar brand, launched in February, recorded leasing occupancy at 84 per cent at the end of H1 2022.

Ecommerce has become a habit for many post-pandemic, accounting for 10 per cent of all retail sales in the UAE now.

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry forecasts ecommerce to generate $8 billion in sales by 2025, with the vast majority (80 per cent in KSA; 75 per cent in UAE) via mobile.

While both online and hybrid retailers are growing, exclusively online players such as HungerStation have grown across all three brand equity pillars of meaning, difference, and salience.

Amol Ghate, Managing Director at Kantar Mena & Pakistan Insights Division, commented on the results of the Kantar BrandZ Top 30 of 2022, “Strong brands are the key to unlocking growth, but this growth happens by design, not by chance.”

“The risers in our current ranking have invested in growing their equity by strengthening their meaningful difference, and then ensuring this is amplified by becoming more salient. Meaningful differentiation comes from creating new categories, expanding footprint or providing greater value for customers.”

Additonally, the Kantar brand ranking highlights the broadening of both GCC-dominant economies, with new entrants from lifestyle categories, banking, and real estate alongside a rise in travel brands following the end of the pandemic.