Electronics retailers are ramping up the hunt for sales with bumper discounts and giveaways as they look to shake off a softening of demand for smartphones and laptops this year.
The second Gitex Shopper of 2016 kicked off on Saturday and runs through to October 8, with all the major high-street names packed into Dubai’s World Trade Centre exhibition halls.
Visitors to the show will be offered bundle deals and discounts on a myriad of products. While the pile-it-high-sell-it-cheap mantra has worked at most Gitex events in the past, it may be different this year because of the current lack of innovation in the electronics sector to entice shoppers, one retailer said.
“We have seen 2 to 3 per cent growth this year which is far below normal,” said Mohesh Chatrani, assistant vice president at Jacky’s Electronics.
He said he expects a 10 per cent to 12 per cent bump in sales from Gitex with customer marketing efforts revolving around experience stations during the event.
“The replacement cycles for mobiles and laptops and notebooks have lengthened. The lack of innovation in smartphones and laptops mean mobile replacements have changed from one year to two years and laptops from two years to three years. There is nothing new in the technology eco system to replace that lag so we are seeing a slowdown in the sector and a slowdown in the economy,” said Mr Chatrani.
Jacky’s Electronics only saw a 5 per cent jump in sales at the Spring Gitex but economic data suggests deals and bargains have been driving retail forward despite the challenging climate. Emirates NBD’s Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for August, that tracks retail, travel and tourism, showed strong sales growth was supported by strategies to offer discounts to stimulate demand.
Smartphone shipments to the UAE have also fallen – over 15 per cent in the first half of the year, according to IDC. However, some retailers believe demand for handsets is still strong.
“Mobile phones will continue to be one of the top categories this year,” said Nilesh Khalko, the chief executive of Sharaf DG. “The iPhone  launch has seen a very good response and even for the Samsung Note 7. With new devices such as the Sony Xperia XZ, HTC Desire 10 and Huawei P9 we expect mobiles as a category to drive business.”
Jumbo Electronics said that it will offer discounts of up to 50 per cent and will bundle into purchases branded bags, watches, sunglasses, headphones and speakers.
“The momentum of sales brought by Gitex Shopper will help drive sales towards the end of the year when customers buy gifts during the festive period,” said Nadeem Khanzadah, the head of omnichannel retail at Jumbo Group.
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