Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

How Ounass got the Gulf hooked on online luxury

Ounass encourages well-heeled Arab women and men to shop online for fashion and accessories

Luxury fashion website Ounass is among the e-tail platforms credited with developing the momentum of online shopping in the Gulf region.

A report by consultancy Bain and Company claims 70 percent of  GCC shoppers are now comfortable with digital retail, having always been better known for their love of malls, operated by the likes of Emaar Malls, owner of the Dubai Mall. 

Ounass, which just marked its fifth anniversary, and rival Farfetch “have outperformed competitors in the luxury e-commerce market”, says Cyrille Fabre, senior partner with Bain Middle East. 

Ounass has benefited from being part of Al Tayer Insignia, the retail division of holding company Al Tayer Group, and the exclusive licensee of Harvey Nichols in the UAE and of Bloomingdale’s in the UAE and Kuwait. 

The company originally launched with 65 brands, growing to more than 1,200 brands today, ranging from beauty to jewellery to international luxury brands such as Balenciaga, Gucci and Fendi and homegrown fashion labels such as Dima Ayad and Sandra Mansour. 

Watch this face: sales are up. Source: Ounass

Nadine Kanso, creative director of Dubai jewellery brand Bil Arabi, says the site has gained a cult following due to its customer service.

“It can deliver within Dubai in two hours and recently launched a three-hour delivery service in Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh,” she said.

Ounass has also built its reputation by working with global brands on special capsule and limited editions. For example, London footwear brand Malone Soulier works on an exclusive with Ounass every season. 

A locally led approach is an Ounass trump card.

“It includes plenty of rich content (available in Arabic) and a detailed understanding of the local calendar”, a company statement said, adding: “it is constantly monitoring the spending habits of Arab buyers.” 

Its jewellery and watch selection is a particular success story. 

Not all experimentation has proven successful. In 2020, Al Tayer Group’s former platform Nisnass closed after two years of operation. 

Nisnass was mobile-focused and targeted Gen Z and millennials with lower price points. 

Face, Person, Human
Ounass online jewellery sales shine

Latest articles

Adnoc sought advice from investment banks on buying a significant stake in BP, a media report said

UAE’s Adnoc explored acquiring BP

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) explored the possibility of acquiring British oil major BP but abandoned the plan as it did not fit into its strategic growth objectives, a media report said.  The talks did not advance beyond the initial stages, Reuters reported, citing informed sources.  The UAE state oil company also sought advice […]

Nature, Undersea cables account for as much as 90 percent of Europe-Asia telecommunications, Water

Iraq and Kuwait team up for European telecom corridor

Iraq’s Informatics and Telecommunication Public Company, a division of the Ministry of Communications, has signed an agreement with Kuwait’s Zajil Telecom to create a telecommunications corridor from the Gulf region to Europe, transiting through Iraq and Turkey. The new route will pass through Iraqi sea and land ports. Iraq’s minister of communications Hayam Al-Yasiri said […]

Turkish crude steel output rose 25% year on year to 3.2 million tonnes in January

Turkish steel in the black but EU rules rankle

Turkey’s steel industry has rebounded strongly from a weak 2023, despite facing new emissions standards and competition for important markets.  Crude steel output rose 25 percent year on year to 3.2 million tonnes in January, with domestic consumption of finished steel reaching 3.5 million tonnes, a 20 percent increase.  Exports were also up, increasing 23 […]

Passengers at Beijing Capital International Airport. Air China will fly from the airport to Riyadh three times a week.

Third Chinese airline to launch flights to Saudi Arabia

Air China is set to begin flights to Riyadh in May, becoming the third Chinese airline to establish a route to Saudi Arabia. It joins China Southern and Eastern Airlines in connecting China with the kingdom.  Air China’s Airbus A330-300 will serve the Beijing-Riyadh route three times a week. The expansion in capacity between the […]