Dubai's renown for shopping is no chance reputation. If laid out end-to-end, the city's malls, souks, markets, boutiques and retail-focused hubs can measure up to extraordinary facts and figures. While designer brands and known labels are aplenty, you can also find unique and affordable shopping in Dubai with our handy guide.
Deals and offers at outlet malls
Mall shopping in Dubai undoubtedly offers access to the latest collections from international luxury brands but, if you want to find designer fashion at lower prices, the city's discount shopping centres are the place to visit.
Designed in the image of medieval European marketplaces, The Outlet Village is a fabulous destination to shop past-season and discounted designer labels under one roof. Stylish handbags from Coach, cosmetics from Sephora, runway fashions from Dolce & Gabbana, and shoes from Cole Haan – many renowned brands line its brick-paved halls, offering hot deals on everything.
Similarly, Dubai Outlet Mall is home to more than 1,200 premium fashion brands across its 240 stores. You can find up to 90% off most labels here, including daily deals on select names all through the week. Trust us, you'll want to go treasure hunting at this discount paradise.
Head to the souks for a gold rush
There's no surprise that when it comes to gold shops in Dubai, you're spoilt for choice. While you'll find ornate jewellery at Gold and Diamond Park along Sheikh Zayed Road and even at The Dubai Mall, few places compare in sheer variety, artistry and price tags to the famous Dubai Gold Souk in Deira. A traditional Arabian market, you can enjoy a touch of local heritage while perusing the many shops that line its open-air alleys.
More than 380 retailers can be found at the souk, some nearly four decades old, showcasing a fine selection of gold, silver, diamonds and precious stones. Artisans from India and Pakistan are also available on-site, so you can order custom pieces if you have the time to spare. We recommend comparing prices across different shops before settling on a deal, while a little friendly bartering might put an extra shine on newfound treasures.
You don't have to worry about authenticity while you shop either as stores at the Gold Souk are closely regulated by the Dubai Municipality.
Discover local fashion and fragrances
One of Dubai's most well-kept secrets is the Perfume Souk in Deira. Here, local culture evaporates into the evocative perfumes of oud, derived from agarwood, and floral oil-based attar. Make your way around the fragrant halls filled with artisan boutiques, where you can shop signature scents or customise your own with a little help. Deeply rooted in local heritage, oud is rapidly becoming a star ingredient in international perfumery – even brands such as Saint Laurent have bottled its rich, earthy aroma.
Another must-visit for anyone who wants to expand their wardrobe to reflect their travels is the Textile Souk in Bur Dubai. Along with rows of vibrant fabrics from around the world, which you can purchase to design your own clothes, this traditional marketplace also offers ready-to-wear outfits for fashionistas on the go. Admire the handiwork of local artisans and designers on display here, including flowing kaftans, ornate scarves and colourful shawls.
Shop vintage finds in Dubai
Pre-loved goods have a special place in Dubai's heart. Many local fashionistas have sought to make luxury brands more affordable for all, providing happy second homes for chic fashion, bags and accessories by the likes of Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton.
For thrifty shoppers in search of classic pieces by haute couture houses, stores such as Garderobe in Jumeirah and Retold in Al Barsha should be high on your list. These boutiques promise curated collections from Dubai's trendsetters, with their owners personally selecting each piece based on its authenticity, quality and condition.
Find everything under one roof
If you're searching for home furnishings or speciality items during your vacation, there's no better place to visit than Dragon Mart. Literally, everything you can imagine is available in the dragon-shaped torso of this expansive shopping haven, a favourite for bargain-hunters.
Dragon Mart is the largest wholesale trading centre for Chinese products outside of mainland China, meaning you'll find whatever you're looking for at affordable prices. Extravagant lighting, ornate wallpapers, home appliances, stylish decorations, innovative gadgets and even funky fashion, it's nearly impossible to see everything on offer here in just one day. Don't be surprised to find competitive prices at side-by-side shops – all the better to bargain with.
The city's best hubs for haggling
Al Karama is a neighbourhood located in Old Dubai, packed with shops, restaurants and a lively thrum of activity at all times. Along with street food favourites, it's also well known among locals for hidden shopping adventures. Visit the stores that line the busy streets to see what fashion hangs on their racks – you might be fortunate to find a few gems at significantly lower prices than the malls.
If you're a first-timer, so a good place to start is the Karama Market. It boasts 300 shops selling just about everything at a bargain, from fashion and souvenirs to fragrances and handbags. Nearby, Meena Bazaar in Bur Dubai is also a haven for the eclectic, selling unique trinkets, fabrics and accessories in tiny, unassuming shops.