Apple, the world's biggest technology company, has launched an online store in the UAE, undercutting local retailers by hundreds of dirhams on a variety of electronics goods.
Residents in the UAE can now order an iPad, iPhone or iPod with their credit cards online and have the products shipped straight to their door in three days.
Retailers and analysts said the move would revolutionise the sale of one of the world's best known brands across the Emirates.
"Despite the fact that e-commerce has not take off in the UAE, it's quite a price sensitive market and people want to get a bargain," said Matthew Reed, senior analyst for the Middle East and Africa at Informa Telecoms & Media. "The fact that prices are lower will have quite an affect. The store based retailers will almost likely respond by cutting their prices."
The Apple store sells the iPad 2 and iPhone at Dh2,099 and Dh2,299 respectively. This is hundreds of dirhams below the prices currently being offered online by Sharaf DG and Carrefour UAE.
Prior to the launch of the store, Apple products were only available through official resellers like Sharaf DG that were supplied by Apple's official distributor, Arabian Business Machine.
It is unclear whether Arabian Business Machine will still be the official distributor of Apple products to physical retailers. ABM declined to comment.
Apple products can also be found in a range of other stores and online websites that are not official outlets, deemed the "grey market."