Carrefour ranks as the most intimate retail brand in the UAE while City Centre makes it among the top 3 according to MBLM’s 2018 Brand Intimacy Report

The UAE’s retail industry came in 8th of the 15 studied in MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2018 Report. Brand Intimacy is defined as a new paradigm in marketing, which leverages the emotional bonds between a person and a brand. The study reveals that top intimate brands deliver superior results related to revenue and profit growth by creating deeper relationships with their consumers.

Carrefour took home first place for most intimate brand in the retail industry, especially amongst users 25 to 44 years of age. Ikea, the industry leader in 2017, ranked fourth place in this year’s results. Lulu Hypermarket  ranked second among retail brands and performed best among millennials aged 18 to 34, with over 65% of the demographic responding that they couldn’t live without the brand.

One-stop shopping destinations like Lulu, Carrefour and online retailer are deeply embedded into the day-to-day lives of their users, ranking higher for essentialness compared to the retail industry average. Despite how essential they become, many brands in the industry still struggle to build stronger bonds with users. For comparison, retail ranked as the third most intimate industry in the US study.  

“Retailers in the UAE don’t seem to prioritize lasting relationships with their consumers,” said William Shintani, managing partner of MBLM Dubai. “Dubai Summer Surprises is a good opportunity to engage new customers and spark interest, but promotions and price aren’t enough incentive to build emotional bonds between brands and users. Retail brands need to think long term about how to build customer relationships from in-store experience and product selection to post-sales services to really establish strong bonds.”   

Other findings from the 2018 Brand Intimacy Report include:


  • The top 10 brands featured in the report are Carrefour, Lulu Hypermarket, City Centre, Ikea, Amazon, Mall of the Emirates, The Dubai Mall,, Sharaf DG and Jumbo Electronics.



  • City Centre jumped to third place in the industry, up from sixth place in 2017, and was ranked the second most intimate brand among men in the UAE



  • Lulu is the top brand for millennials, while Carrefour is preferred among those 36-64 years old



  • High income users from the same demographic preferred Amazon as the most intimate brand


MBLM has invented a new marketing paradigm, Brand Intimacy, delivering expertise and offerings across three areas of focus: Agency, Lab and Platform. With offices in seven countries, our multidisciplinary teams help clients build stronger bonds and deliver optimized marketing outcomes and returns for the long term. To learn more about how we can help you create and sustain ultimate brand relationships, visit

To view the Retail Industry rankings, click here.

To download the full Brand Intimacy 2018 Report, click here.