The UAE has an online shopping addiction. Home to the most developed market in the Middle East and the largest of all GCC countries, online sales hit USD 16bn in 2020. That’s a tenfold increase in just three years.
Recent events are only set to accelerate this trend with annual growth estimated at 23% through to 2022.
And for those looking to trade online, there can be few better locations than Dubai. The emirate is ideally located to trade with every major world market, has a 0% personal and corporate tax rate, and numerous free trade zones offering custom tax exemption, zero currency restrictions, and other rewarding benefits.
Plus, with the right expert guidance, it’s easy to apply for a trade license and form a company in the UAE. So, if you’re looking to start an online business in Dubai, here are five simple ideas to get you on your way.
Start a digital marketing agency
Digital marketing is huge business in this part of the world. Arabic language countries are estimated to account for around 70% of internet users, while the UAE has more active internet users (80%) than the European average (66%). This presents a vast potential market for online marketers and their clients.
What’s more, provided you have the skills to make it a success, starting a digital marketing agency is quick and simple. All you need is a trade license, a website, and a place to work. And once you have a process in place, there’s little need for further investment. Over time, you can grow your client base and increase your recurring income with minimal impact on your overheads.
Set up a job search portal
Dubai’s recruiters are almost always in demand. The emirate is home to thousands of businesses with aspirations of growth, and they all need new hires to achieve those aims.
And today’s job market is almost all online. A Pew Research Center study found that, in 2015, 79% of job seekers looked at online boards. Today, we can expect that figure to be must higher. For the businesses that can connect those online job hunters with Dubai’s growing businesses, the rewards can be considerable.
Of course, in such a vibrant business environment, recruitment-related industries can be a little crowded. But there remains plenty of opportunity for those who can carve a niche.
Build a food and grocery delivery app – or pay someone else to
The online food delivery market has grown rapidly in recent years. The global market will exceed 100 billion this year – and could end up far higher than initial predictions given the coronavirus pandemic and its resulting increase in demand.
Similar to starting a job board, starting a food delivery app is a case of connecting supply and demand. In this case, connecting Dubai’s many eateries with its hungry residents.
If you already have coding and development skills, you can design and build the app yourself. If not, there are many businesses in the UAE that will build and maintain your app and charge a fee for their services.
Creating an online activity booking platform
Over 16m people visited Dubai in 2019, and the emirate’s rulers have plans to increase this number to 25m by 2025. What’s more, after a frustrating year, we can expect the tourism authorities to exceed even their own high standards when it comes to encouraging visitors to our shores in 2021.
That’s all to say, there’s never been a better time to get into the Dubai tourism market. And running an online booking platform is a great way to do just that.
You could sell tickets to local attractions, activities such as skydiving, or packages at local hotels, restaurants and bars. In most cases, you’ll earn a commission on every successful booking.
Sell your skills on a tutoring marketplace
More people than ever are learning online. Whether supplementing their education, revising for exams, or learning a new skill, there is plenty of demand for tutoring services.
This is another sector that has grown considerably during the pandemic, as more of us are getting comfortable with virtual experiences, whether they’re business, social or education.
And the best part is, you’ll likely already have all that’s required to start this business. Are you an expert in an academic subject like maths or science? Can you speak another language? Or could you teach bookkeeping, public speaking, or another business-related skill? If the answer is yes, you’re ready to start tutoring.
Start your business at Dtec
Whatever online business you wish to start in Dubai, UAE, there’s no better base than Dtec.
Start your business with us, and we’ll handle every step of the process for you – helping to outline activities, registering your company name, applying for your license and visas, and supporting you once you’re up and running.
For technology startups and entrepreneurs looking for flexible coworking or office space in Dubai, Dtec offers a nurturing, supportive community from which to set up your new business. Our 10,000 sqm facility is home to an integrated ecosystem for hundreds of startups, SMEs and technology entrepreneurs from around the world.
So, do you have a great idea you want to see realised? Everything you need can be found here. Our coworking space encourages collaboration, our accelerator programs and funding arm give a young business set up in the UAE a head start, and our networking events ensure you get your name out there and stay on top of industry trends.
We take care of everything, leaving you to take care of running, and growing, your business.