The launch of two consumer-focused shows in Abu Dhabi today are part of a growing trend to tap the vast spending power of the capital, industry specialists say.
Up to 75,000 consumers will descend on Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) this weekend for the first Abu Dhabi Electronics Shopper event.
And just down the hall, the Luxury Gift Show will also open its doors for the first time, alongside the 21st International Jewellery and Watch Show.
They are among a number of consumer exhibitions to launch this year, which includes The Collection, an invite-only event featuring 100 luxury brands, and The Life & Style show, the largest consumer lifestyle event in the Middle East.
"We have looked at Abu Dhabi for a couple of reasons," said Ashley Roberts, the events director at dmg::events Middle East, which is organising the Life & Style show, which includes six sub-shows: Speed & Power; Home & Living; Fashion & Beauty; Gizmos, Gadgets & Tech; Sport & Leisure; and Toys, Hobbies & Games.
"In Abu Dhabi there isn't as much for consumers to do at the weekend. But another one is the population. If you include Al Ain and Abu Dhabi collectively, it is actually greater than it is in Dubai. If you look at the prospective market that we want to service … there is a bigger pool of them in that region.".
And Abu Dhabi is also where much of the wealth is in the UAE, he added.
That high spending power was also an important factor for the organisers of the first luxury gift show.
"The GCC luxury market has continued to retain its lustre despite challenging economic conditions," said Ara Fernezian, the divisional managing director at Reed Exhibitions.
The capital has emerged as a key market for luxury goods, so the city offers the ideal location for the Luxury Gift Show, she added.
"In Abu Dhabi there was a plan to roll out more high-end luxury related shows in the capital, simply to make use of big demographics and good income profile," said Richard Adams, a director and senior consultant at Acuity Middle East.
"It's just a common sense location for that subset of events," he added.
The number of events held at Adnec last year was 360, up 55 per cent compared with the 232 held in 2011.
The increase has been viewed by Adnec as a success in its effort to boost the emirate's economy in line with the Abu Dhabi 2030 Vision.