Dubai Duty Free rings in over AED7.8 billion sales in 2023

December ended with record monthly sales of AED 807 million
Dubai Duty Free rings in over AED7.8 billion sales in 2023
Dubai Duty Free (Image source: ICD)

Dubai Duty Free (DDF) has announced its highest-ever annual sales of AED7.885 billion ($2.16 billion) in 2023. That is a 24.39 percent increase compared to 2022 and a 6.40 percent increase over sales in 2019.

Record sales

December ended with record monthly sales of AED807 ($221 million), an 8.37 percent increase compared to 2022. Last month’s sales were boosted by Dubai Duty Free’s 40th-anniversary celebrations. On that day, DDF offered a 25 percent discount, resulting in a 24-hour sales achievement worth AED54.1 million ($14.8 million).

Reflecting on the company’s milestones, Colm McLoughlin, executive vice chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, said, “We are thrilled to have achieved our target sales for the year, a record month in December and a record year in 2023, which culminated with our celebrations of our milestone 40th anniversary.”

Also worth nothing is Dubai Duty Free’s more than 20 million record transactions throughout 2023. That is an average of 55,000 sales transactions per day. Overall, it sold more than 55.2 million units of merchandise in 2023.

Best-selling categories

The five best-selling categories at Dubai Duty Free this year were perfumes, liquor, gold, cigarettes, tobacco, and electronics. Perfume sales amounted to AED1.366 billion (US$ 374 million), contributing 17 percent of total sales. Meanwhile, liquor sales amounted to AED1.130 billion ($310 million), representing 14 percent of total annual sales.

In addition, gold recorded sales of AED774 million ($212 million), contributing 10 percent to total sales. Cigarettes and tobacco placed 4th with sales amounting to AED745 million ($204 million), constituting 9.5 percent of total sales. Finally, electronics sales amounted to AED628 million ($172 million), constituting 8 percent of total sales.

On the other hand, online sales represented 2 percent of the total for 2023, recording AED164 million ($45 million).

In addition, sales at the departures section amounted to AED7.062 billion ($1.93 billion), representing 90 percent of total annual sales. Meanwhile, arrivals’ sales recorded AED612 million ($168 million), representing 8 percent of total annual sales.

In terms of the main source markets for Dubai Duty Free sales, India ranked first with sales of AED973 million ($266 million), followed by Russia with sales of AED759 million ($208 million).  Next came in China with recorded sales of AED564 million ($154 million). Meanwhile, fourth-ranked Saudi Arabia recorded sales of AED512 million ($140 million), and the United Kingdom ranked 5th with sales of AED373 million ($102 million).


In line with the growth of operations, rehiring and recruitment of staff proceeded with the total employee count now standing at 5,500. Over the year, the operation received a total of 18 awards, including

  • 22nd consecutive Business Traveler Middle East Award for Best Airport for Duty Free Shopping in the Middle East
  • Seventeenth consecutive Global Traveler Award for Best Duty-Free Shopping in the World

McLoughlin was also recognized with various awards, including the Pearl Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Travel Industry. This award was established to celebrate the 30th edition of the Arabian Travel Market. He also received the inaugural Frontier Pioneer award at the Frontier Awards in Cannes in October.

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Retail operations

Looking to the future, Dubai Duty Free will continue to enhance its retail operations. This includes major renovation plans for Concourse B, which will be completed early this year. The operation is also working on renovations scheduled for three stores at arrivals section in the first quarter of 2024, with construction continuing through the second to third quarter of 2024. Concourse A will also be refurbished in the second quarter of 2024. They will be finished in early to mid-2025 with three new boutiques for major fashion brands.

In addition, Dubai Duty Free will proceed with maintaining its busy events and promotional agenda. Some of its events include the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships which will be held at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium from 18 February to 2 March 2024.

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