Dubai is witnessing an e-commerce boom this year as the demand for online shopping has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent study by Visa, Dubai Police and Dubai Economy, around 49 percent of the people surveyed said they were shopping online more often now since the coronavirus outbreak.
Another indicator of the e-commerce boom is an 83 percent year-on-year increase in the number of DED Traders licenses issued by Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED). The department issued this license to 1,947 companies in the first six months of 2020. First launched in 2017, the DED Trader license allows people to easily and legally conduct businesses online and via social networking sites. According to a statement by DED, the license was launched by its Business Registration and Licensing section “to promote e-commerce and the competitiveness of Dubai’s economy, as well as to realise the vision of the government to drive digital transformation.”
The statement further said, “Due to its advanced logistical structure and the high demand for internet use in the previous months, Dubai has succeeded in realising its smart transformation.”
Around 382 online activities are permitted via the DED Trader license. One license can have up to 10 activities of the same category. The most popular online activity for which the license has been issued recently is lifestyle coaching. Other popular activities include marketing services such as social media marketing, website design, app development, project management, tailoring and trading of cosmetics, perfumes and ready-to-wear apparel. The top categories include Information Technology, Fashion, Other Personal and Trading Services, Ladies Tailoring and Design, and Preparation of Food.
The license can be obtained via the dedtrader.ae website. It does not allow the licensee to open a physical store but if the online business has 100 percent Emirati ownership, then up to three employment visas can also be issued. Benefits of the DED Trader license include bank facilities, membership of Dubai Chamber, employment services and, access to work spaces, trainings and events.