It’s smartphone season at the Gitex Shopper this year, with new phone launches and price drops on flagship models of the iPhone, Samsung and the flagging BlackBerry, emerging as the main focus of the IT retail expo.
However, retailers remained bullish over sales of other traditional high-sellers at Gitex, namely laptops and the DSLR segments.
Meanwhile, a 15 per cent dip in the sales of the televisions category by some retailers is anticipated as the eight-day event unfolds at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), as a direct result of the import duty being levied on Indian expats by the Indian government on certain electronic goods.
Five new phones and a price war
With five new smartphones generating a buzz at Gitex Shopper this season, flagship products such as the Apple iPhone 5 and the Samsung S4 have witnessed a price drop of Dh200 at the retail expo.
This year, LG G2, Nokia’s flagship Lumia 1020, the Sony Xperia Z1, BlackBerry’s Z30 and the HTC One Mini are the buzz words at the shopper, not forgetting the juggernaut Samsung that has entered the market with the Galaxy Note III and the Gear.
Speaking to Emirates 24|7, Jumbo CEO, Vishesh Bhatia, says: “Smartphones are stealing the spotlight from the traditional sellers such as laptops and DSLR cameras, and why not? Look at the launches that have been announced keeping the shopper in mind.
“Today, people are looking for seamless integration in their phones, which also work as a tablet, as a business module, for gaming and as a media package.
The tech savvy buyer today will not hesitate to upgrade their phone if something better is offered in the market.”
Emax CEO, Neelesh Bhatnagar agreed, saying: “Smartphones today are beyond the traditional phone usage and the newer phones are witness to this transformation, with Nokia’s flagship phone and its 41 megapixel camera being proof of this.”
And with these new phones in the market, it can only spell good news for the buyer and his/her pocket.
Says , Jacky’s COO Ashish Panjabi: “One of the most notable smartphone discounts this year is the iPhone5, which is now available for Dh2,299; as is the Samsung S4 for its 3G model.
“Meanwhile, the price for the BlackBerry Z10 has dropped as low as Dh1,199.”
A free car here… and a free car there
However, even as prices and discounts get serious at shopper this year, what is a Gitex without some gimmick? Sharaf DG’s free car for a TV offer for just Dh129,999 is all that anyone was talking about on the opening day of the expo.
While Jacky’s is giving shoppers the chance to win a Nikon camera every eight minutes, ECity has a one gadget for Dh1 every hour; Plug Ins is too in on the game, offering a raffle to win a Lexus IS 250 Premier in a bumper raffle; and this is unrelated to the Opel Astra car that can be won daily with the purchase of an entry ticket.
Bhatnagar has a theory for this, saying: “There is a feel good factor that goes with shopper and everyone loves to win a good bargain; you can never take that out of Gitex.”
Bargain discounts and bigger sales
Retailers such as Jacky’s Electronics expected to earn two-month worth in sales over the eight-day shopper, which ends on October 12. Panjabi says: “The buyers are back and with Eid Al Adha next week, we fully expect the Saudis to arrive by the weekend to fuel the festive buys.
With Diwali and Christmas not too far, sales are expected to peak over the eight days.”
When quizzed, he adds: “Jacky’s is looking at making two-month worth of sales over the Gitex week with discount offerings of 10 per cent across various segments; and this does not include the added value you receive in form of bundle offers.”
Emax’s Bhatnagar appears just as excited over sales in the coming days, saying: “Emax traditionally makes six per cent of its annual sales over Gitex Shopper week; but this year, we have increased our retail space by 30 per cent, so we expect a corresponding increase in sales for the period too.”
Speaking about the discounts on offer, he continued: “Discounts will easily reach 25 per cent on certain segments when you combine the value back in bundle offers and freebies; but shoppers can be assured, there are some genuine deals out here this time around.”
Jumbo CEO Bhatia believes that credibility will play a big factor in this year’s shopping experience, saying: “Gone are those days when Gitex was all about a gimmick here and a discount there, with bundle offers including brand name products that no one had even heard of.
“Today, if you look at our deals alone, the bundles include products such as the iPad, a Samsung tablet or the LG Led TV. “There is a quality on offer, which serious buyers will appreciate, along with prices to match.”