I will visit Dubai and I wonder why visitors often do a lot of shopping there. Are goods cheaper, tax-free, or something similar?

  • Because the malls are big, shiny and air conditioned and even multiple attractions are basically inside the mall. So everyone will end up going there eventually.
    – skymningen
    Nov 25 '16 at 9:28

The region has a very long tradition of international trade, and it's a cornerstone of the economy. Taxes and tariffs are low, so many things are indeed cheaper. Additionally, the sheer number of shopping opportunities is an attraction in itself. Dubai has one of the world's largest shopping malls (among 50 others), one of the largest duty free stores, and even a special shopping festival.


I was in Dubai a few weeks ago (not for the first time) and was (not for the first time) also baffled by how Dubai attracts so my, specifically, shoppers.

Yes, Dubai is something of a shoppers' Meccah, but not really a shoppers' paradise. Typically, the brands on sale are expensive and, at best, the price difference between there and at western outlets is VAT, which isn't levied in the UAE. But, I think, if you're willing to pay unreasonable prices for fancy branded clothing at home, does the 15-20% difference really matter, specifically if you have to pay for your flight to get there and pay unreasonable amounts for your accommodation? But, there is a lot of choice.

Also, I found electronics to be only marginally cheaper, if at all.

So, yes, hordes of shoppers, lower prices on (some) consumer goods. Expensive to get there and stay there.


I have never traveled there but it is the most visited destination by Iranians because of short distance, easy visa and good accommodations for tourists. As an Iranian aspect there are many malls selling fake brands much more cheaper than original brands and surely Dubai is an attractive commercial center in the middle east which is unique in providing facilities for all tastes, cultures and budgets.

  • 1
    I am visiting Dubai from Europe. I can get fake brands at home too ;) I wonder whether it is worth buying original there ...
    – Richard
    Mar 28 '13 at 15:10
  • 1
    You can find fakes whole around the world but some places are more famous in selling them as originals! ;) Mar 28 '13 at 15:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.