Retailers from six major business sectors in Dubai who led in the Consumer Friendliness Index 2013 of the Department of Economic Development (DED) were honoured by His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum at a special ceremony today.
The Cars division of Juma Al Majid Group was the overall leader from a total number of 46 outlets across the six sectors rated for their customer service and compliance to the Consumer Rights Code stated in the Federal Law No. 24 of 2006. Coffee shops, Hypermarkets, Retail, Electronics and Furniture were the other sectors rated in addition to Car Agencies.
While the highest customer rating in the Cars sector made Juma Al Majid the overall leader, Lulu Hypermarkets, Alshaya Group (Debenhams), Tim Hortons, Emax, and Homes R Us led in the Hypermarkets, Retail, Coffee Shops, Electronics and Furniture sectors respectively.
A first-of-its-kind initiative launched by the Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector in DED in 2012, the Consumer Friendliness Index looks at popular retail outlets in Dubai to evaluate their service and level of compliance to the Consumer Rights Code stated in the Federal Law No. 24 of 2006.
Service quality, billing transparency, sharing of warranty information by salesperson and overall satisfaction are the chief criteria for the index.
“Total retail sales in Dubai in 2012 was estimated at over 100 billion dirhams and the contribution of retail sector to Dubai’s GDP is expected to rise by 4.5 per cent annually till 2017. Retail spend by visitors to Dubai alone is estimated to reach 33 billion dirhams by 2017, more than a quarter of the total sales. Retail sales in Dubai is also set to increase 5.7 per cent between 2013 and 2017. It is therefore important that service quality in the retail sector evolves in line with the expected demand, said his Excellency Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of DED.
“The Consumer Friendliness Index is a major initiative aimed to boost consumer confidence and promote best practices in consumer protection in retailing in Dubai. Such initiatives ultimately serves to enhance retail sector competitiveness and Dubai’s reputation as one of the best shopping destinations,” added Al Qamzi.
The 2013 rating was based on consumer opinions tracked over nine months from April to December and consumer complaints received by DED as well as the extent of parity/fair pricing for a pre-determined products/services basket. Consumer opinion took 60 per cent in the aggregate score of 100 while consumer complaints and fair pricing each got 20 per cent.
Consumer complaints received every month were evaluated while price parity was compared in regular intervals – monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly or half-yearly – depending on the nature of business.
Omar Bushahab, Chief Executive Officer of CCCP in DED, remarked that the growing interest among businesses in being part of the Consumer Friendliness Index showed it was fast evolving into a benchmark for service standards and retailer responsiveness.
“Whereas we had 22 outlets from three sectors in the 2012 index, the number of sectors has doubled this year and the number of outlets has gone up by 92 per cent. It reflects a growing awareness among retailers that customer satisfaction should be a top priority in their business operations and development strategies,” added Bushahab.
Fair price and quick resolution of complaints were the chief factors that propelled Juma Al Majid to the overall top slot with an aggregate score of 75.71. Complaints resolution was also seen as a strong point of the Coffee Shops sector where all seven coffee shops evaluated won full points (20 out of 20) in the Complaints criterion.
Hypermarkets are evenly poised in the Price and Consumer Rating criteria but show big differences in their approach to Complaints. Nearly 94 per cent of the customers who shop at Lulu expressed happiness over billing transparency.
Tim Hortons (Coffee shops), Hyper Panda (Hypermarkets) and Sharaf DG (Electronics) and Pan Emirates (Furniture) led in fair pricing while Ikea (Furniture) and Caribou Coffee got the topmost billing for customer service in their respective sectors.
Seventy per cent of those surveyed own a car while 45 per cent plan to buy a car during the next 6-12 months and 84 per cent of car owners go to their dealer for after-sales service. As many as 57 per cent said they bought furniture and home décor over the last 12 months.
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