expressed opinion entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
You are reading Entrepreneur Middle East, the international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
This UAE economy is booming, while advances in technology have opened up exciting new opportunities for entrepreneurs. Of course, some industries are hotter than others. In this article, we will look at three industries that are experiencing significant growth globally and in the UAE. We’ll explore how you can capitalize on them with your own startup business. The purpose is to help you come up with ideas that can be further researched and developed.
Beauty is big business in the UAE, with GCC consumers spending over $9 billion on beauty and personal care products in 2016. According to Euromonitor International, this spending is expected to grow over the next few years. The top five categories are Fragrance, Makeup, Skincare, Men’s Grooming and Hair Care. The potential growth, combined with new technologies and global trends, presents a huge opportunity for start-ups in the UAE and can pay handsome dividends.
Let’s look at current trends. According to Forbes, global beauty consumers — mostly women — love to seek out new brands and locally made products. A clear shift towards natural and “nothing” products — especially skincare — and young, creative brands. The desire for quick fixes and personalization of products are other major trends.
How you can benefit by participating: The key is to bring modern technology, tools, and apps into your products — and be backed by beauty influencers on social media. Instagram is especially popular. Take these examples. A young New York company (Hello Ava) uses artificial intelligence and big data to find the right skin care products for customers. You complete a quick online quiz (“Chat with Ava”), and the algorithm makes personalized recommendations. A skin consultant will contact you two weeks after placing your order to find out about your condition. Another company (Patchology) uses transdermal patch technology in its skin care products. The technology comes from the pharmaceutical industry and is more effective than lotions or creams at bringing active ingredients into the skin. Patchology has over 68,000 followers on Instagram. Both companies emphasize the technology behind what they do — Hello Ava calls itself the “brain behind beauty” — which resonates with tech-savvy millennials and Gen Y consumers. Almost everyone wants to look good, and you can capitalize on that with a tech-driven beauty startup.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence is a global game changer and Entrepreneurs in the UAE. PwC estimates that it could contribute $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, of which $96 billion is in the UAE. The UAE government recognizes the importance of artificial intelligence and launched an artificial intelligence development strategy in October 2017. Areas covered by the strategy include health, technology and education.
But what exactly is artificial intelligence? This is a term used to describe a computer system that is able to sense its environment, learn, and act on its environment and other inputs. Examples include the Hello Ava chatbot above, and digital assistants like Alexa and Siri. AI is disrupting the market in two ways. It provides the ability to automate processes and greatly increase productivity, especially in labor-intensive industries. It can be used to enhance products—for example, by offering more personalization or saving consumers time—as seen in Hello Ava.
How you can benefit by participating: The impact of AI will be enormous and will encompass all industries and organizations. One way to benefit is to develop AI technology with government support and sell it globally. Another option is to become an AI expert, providing technical consulting services to organizations. They know AI will bring them huge benefits, but may not have the time or expertise to learn the technology on their own. Another option is to look at your own industry or sector and find out how AI can reduce costs, increase productivity and/or enhance products and services. Then use your insights to start your own business. There are many examples of AI around the world that can help you on your path to success.
E-commerce is a massive global business, with global sales of $1.86 trillion in 2016. It is expected to more than double in size by 2021. Online sales in the UAE are expected to reach $10 billion this year, up from $2.5 billion in 2015. It’s easy to see why e-commerce is becoming more and more popular. As we saw above, consumers are becoming more tech-savvy. They are more than happy to use social media and apps to learn about products and interact with brands. Then in just a short step (perhaps just one click) you can buy the product online.
How you can benefit by participating: You can participate in this revolution by Starting an e-commerce business in the UAE. From there you can target specific local markets or go global. You can also sell a wide range of products or focus on a specific area. Popular e-commerce product types include software, electronics, beauty, clothing, and fashion accessories. A key factor is connecting with consumers using the latest tools, apps and mobile technologies. For example, a recent survey showed that nearly 60% ($1.3 trillion) of global e-commerce sales in 2017 came from mobile devices, especially smartphones. If your product is right, it’s a huge opportunity. Or you can move further down the value chain and actually develop these mobile technologies and applications to sell to e-commerce businesses around the world. The opportunities are huge.
The UAE is a great place to start a business – especially in high-growth industries. In this article, we examine three hot areas—beauty, artificial intelligence, and e-commerce—and discuss how they are being shaped and developed by technology. We also suggest ways you can get involved – take advantage of opportunities and be part of a success story.