x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Dubai issues index of consumer-friendly retailers

Consumers in Dubai shopping for everything from SUVs and smart phones to sugar now have a guide about the best outlets to buy their goods.

Lulu Hypermarkets was the most consumer friendly in both the hypermarkets and electronics categories. Lauren Lancaster / The National
Lulu Hypermarkets was the most consumer friendly in both the hypermarkets and electronics categories. Lauren Lancaster / The National

Consumers in Dubai shopping for everything from SUVs and smart phones to sugar now have a guide about the best places to buy their goods.

For the first time, an index of the most consumer-friendly retailers has been published by the Department of Economic Development (DED).

Juma Al Majid automobiles, the UAE retailer for Hyundai and Kia vehicles, scored the highest overall rating in the survey and also came top in the automobiles category. Lulu Hypermarkets stood top in both the hypermarkets and electronics categories.

The results follow an online survey of more than 1,700 consumers, both Emiratis and expatriates, about their views on 24 companies in the retail sector.

Consumer satisfaction and perception of a business accounted for more than half of the scoring. Retailers were also judged on the number of consumer complaints they received and the time taken to resolve those complaints. How retailers compared to their competitors in pricing was also assessed.

The index focused on automobiles, hypermarkets and electronics as those three sectors accounted for more than 60 per cent of consumer spending, DED said.

"Healthy competition will always bring improved services to customers and help businesses grow faster," said Omar Bushahab, the chief executive of DED's commercial compliance and consumer protection department (CCCP).

"Our approach in rating consumer friendliness mainly focused on consumer perceptions of the service available at leading retail outlets and the factors driving customer loyalty." But consumers wanting to know the worst-performing retailers will be disappointed.

The DED decided against "naming and shaming" those at the bottom of the index.

"It is fair to publish the worst-performing companies if you're publishing all the companies in the industry," said Mohammed Lootah, the deputy chief executive officer of CCCP.

"But we are not covering every company, only those with the majority of market share."

DED aims to make the index an annual survey. Next year, it plans to include a greater number of businesses as well as publishing the index in full.

This year, it will send a report of its findings to participating retailers, telling them about their strengths as well as areas for improvement.

"We want this to be a development initiative, rather than an initiative showing who is bad," said Mr Lootah.

In this year's survey, Carrefour was ranked best in terms of customer loyalty in the hypermarkets category. About 90 per cent of consumers ranked the French retailer as their preferred hypermarket.

It also scored the highest customer loyalty ranking in electronics.

Lulu scored the highest customer satisfaction rate in the hypermarket category, with E-max topping the same chart in electronics.

Al Nabooda Automobiles enjoyed the highest level of customer satisfaction in car sales. Al Tayer Automobiles and Arabian Automobile shared the top spot in after-sales service.

tarnold@thenational.ae