MBA Luxury Brand Management

MBA Luxury Brand Management
Class of 2016-2017

Friday, May 2, 2014

Learning about Luxury in Dubai

By Pawel Zawisza, MBA in International Luxury Brand Management student 2013-2014, Poland

Dubai; a city of great contrasts, a place where everybody can find something for themselves... as long as it’s a. sand, b. malls, c. huge construction projects serving as tourist attractions e.g. BurjKhalifa, Burj-al-Arab. But we were not here to get lost in the desert (although some people decided to embark on desert safari) – much like Hong Kong, Dubai is a large regional market, accounting for approximately 36% of all luxury spending in GCC countries. If you want to make it big in the Middle East you need to be in Dubai, which is the reason all the major luxury brands have their operations here.

Dubai is a very specific market, however, which we learned about on the first day during our conferences with Clarins & Chanel. As religion plays a huge role in the lives of the people in the region, this restricts the products one can offer – as most women from the region wear abayas, loose clothing covering their body in accordance with Muslim faith, one cannot sell a lot of ready-to-wear clothes. Accessories, leather goods, sunglasses and watches remain the preferred choice for customers. For the cosmetic market, customers prefer heavy, oriental scents, something they can apply multiple times throughout the year.

On the second day we had a chance to meet with representatives from the Chalhoub Group. As the region encourages partnerships with local companies (in some Gulf countries it becomes a requirement mandated by the law), the Chalhoub Group plays an important role as a distributor for multiple luxury brands.

On the third day we had a chance to meet with the CEO of regional branch of Van Cleef & Arpels. He was another person who presented the regional specificities of all the different countries in the region. Afterwards we met with people from the L’Oreal Group – after the short presentation we were delighted to take part in the workshop focused on presenting a new concept of retail space for perfumes.

Our last day of conferences had us visiting Christian Dior Couture, where we toured the company’s boutiques in the Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world! Visiting a Dior store is always an event, and we were delighted to be given a tour through all the product categories!

Our last visit in Dubai took us to Armani Hotel, located in BurjKhalifa. Learning about luxury hotel operations was certainly refreshing and I’m sure everyone enjoyed it a lot!