Electronics retailers expect strong sales growth at this year's Gitex Shopper event in Dubai but say the high cost of exhibiting will eat into profits.
Sales at the UAE's largest electronics show are expected to exceed Dh200 million (US$54.45m), on the back of strong demand for computers, cameras and new smartphones such as the iPhone 5.
About 175,000 visitors are expected to flock to the eight-day event, which starts on Saturday at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
Helal Saeed Almarri, the chief executive of Dubai World Trade Centre, which organises the Gitex event, said he expected sales growth to be in the "double digits" this year.
Last year the total revenues, as reported by the exhibitors, were about Dh193m, Mr Almarri said.
Vishesh Bhatia, the chief executive of the electronics retailer Jumbo, said he was expecting a 10 to 15 per cent increase in Gitex Shopper sales this year.
"It's a feeding frenzy," he said. "Jumbo is looking to have a double-digit increase in its business."
Jumbo booked 1,200 square meters of space at the show and will have 300 staff manning 30 points of sale.
Mr Bhatia said the event gave the chain exposure and high sales volumes.
But the cost of exhibiting means Jumbo derives lower profit margins from Gitex Shopper than from its regular retail sales.
"It does yield a positive bottom line. But it will not match what we earn otherwise," said Mr Bhatia.
Ashish Panjabi, the chief operating officer of Jacky's Electronics, said the Gitex Shopper event brought in the equivalent of about two months of sales from its retail outlets.
"We're looking for that to continue this year," he said.
Jacky's has booked 1,490 square metres of space at the show, with its stand staffed by more than 700 people.
Mr Panjabi said Jacky's was hoping for a moderate growth in revenues this year.
"We've got a much higher base to work on so even a top-line growth of 3 to 5 per cent would be excellent," he said.
The electronics retailer Emax said it expected a 40 per cent increase in sales this year, albeit from a lower base than many of its competitors.
"We have a lot of catching up to do. We are the newest electronics retailer in the UAE," said Neelesh Bhatnagar, the company's chief executive.
"We just entered the market five years ago, as opposed to some of the existing players who have been around for many, many years."
Dikran Tchablakian, the founder and chief executive of CompuMe, said he expected sales at the event to be similar to last year.
He said attending Gitex was essential but did not represent a strong return on investment (ROI).
"We make profit. But the ROI is not justified.
"It's too much to make too little," said Mr Tchablakian.
"Gitex is important and it represents a big chunk of sales and you cannot miss it.
"If you're not there, you will not do the turnover. You need to make the numbers so that you get the support of the suppliers."
Gitex Shopper was previously held at the Airport Expo Dubai. Its sister event, the Gitex Technology Week, begins on October 14.