The Dubai Shopping Festival is expected to boost the emirate's economy by more than Dh15 billion (US$4.08bn) in extra spending on retail, travel and hospitality over the next four weeks.
According to a study by YouGov commissioned by the Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (Depe), the festival added Dh15.1bn to Dubai's economy last year, and Laila Suhail, the chief executive of Depe, expects a similar boost in the coming weeks.
"We have so much to offer this year in the retail mix and promotions," she said. "After 16 years of running DSF [Dubai Shopping Festival], today, it's not just a festival, it's a unique brand with a real value to Dubai."
Retailers, malls and hotels will offer millions of dirhams of discounts on products and services during DSF, as well as run events and raffles to reward shoppers.
This year's festival starts tomorrow, two weeks earlier than last year, and will run for 32 days.
A total of Dh5.9bn was spent last year by tourists and Dh6.6bn by UAE residents from other emirates, according to the YouGov survey.
The study questioned 898 international visitors and 1,981 UAE residents throughout the festival period last year.
"We have one of the biggest collections of brands in the world, which is a key reason [for] Dubai's popularity," said Ms Suhail. "Malls are part of our lifestyle."
The Depe has spent Dh70 million in the past year on promoting DSF through local events and overseas at roadshows in London, the GCC and Asia.
Throughout the month-long festival last year, nearly 4 million people participated through events or by shopping. That number included a total of 884,660 regional and international visitors, Depe said.
The largest proportion came from India, the UK and Saudi Arabia. India accounted for 11 per cent of total visitor numbers, and the UK and Saudi Arabia each accounted for 8 per cent.
Retailers are again expecting strong sales at DSF this year and welcome the decision to start the festival two weeks earlier.