With the majority of residents in the United Arab Emirates being expatriates, it is very common to hang out at cafés and bars to socialise with old and new friends alike. However, in 2020 this was not possible for some of the year during COVID-19 lockdowns, and even on reopening there were capacity restrictions.
In 2020, many cafés/bars which did not previously offer home delivery entered into the delivery business to cater to demand amongst consumers who were working from home. Meanwhile, cafés/bars that were already offering delivery boosted their investment in improving their delivery systems.
The sales of bars/pubs in particular were severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Arab Emirates due to travel restrictions and the dramatic decline in the number of tourists, which led this category to see the most dramatic slump within cafés/bars in 2020. As the United Arab Emirates is an Islamic country, the majority of sales through bars/pubs were usually to tourists or expatriates through alcohol licences before the outbreak of COVID-19.
With the sales of cafés and specialist coffee and tea shops projected to increase in the region in the forecast period, more outlets are expected to be opened by established brands such as Starbucks. Café culture will continue to accelerate in the United Arab Emirates in the forecast period, with many outlets offering co-working spaces with free Wi-Fi and dedicated desks for customers to sit and work.
In the forecast period, bars/pubs is expected to be slower to recover to the pre-COVID-19 level of value sales than cafés and specialist coffee and tea shops. This is due to the fact that bars/pubs rely quite heavily on sales to international tourists, who are likely to be slow to return to the United Arab Emirates in the early forecast period, whilst COVID-19 remains in evidence and new variants emerge, and whilst other countries around the world continue to implement travel restrictions.
From 26 February 2022, the wearing of masks outside was lifted in the United Arab Emirates, whilst the government also announced the lifting of capacity limits at shopping centres and food and beverage venues. This will allow consumers to go and eat out more, thus supporting the sales of cafés/bars in 2022.
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This category encompasses all establishments where the focus is on drinking (either alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages). While a wide variety of snacks and full meals are offered, it is not uncommon for consumers to only order a drink. As a general rule, establishments deriving 50% of their income or more from the sale of drinks are included here.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Cafés/Bars research and analysis database.
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