DUBAI // Bargain hunters determined to find the best deals for electronics swept into the Gitex Shopper Spring show in their thousands yesterday for the first day of the huge consumer show.
As the day wore on the crowds at the World Trade Centre grew, with hundreds gathered around stalls for camcorders, smartphones and televisions.
"It's only the first few hours and already we have had a hectic start to the event," said Anthony Imiranda, merchandising manager at the Sony electronics stage. "We usually get a lot of interest in our cameras, camcorders and the Bravia TVs which always sell well at Gitex."
Visitors negotiated their way around stalls with members of staff thrusting brochures at them and asking them to check out their offers.
There were deals on more than 30,000 gadgets ranging from TVs, smartphones, tablets, and digital cameras to household appliances, games and entertainment accessories.
The event, which was opened by Eng. Hussain Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, runs until Saturday and has been described by organisers as having the biggest launch yet at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
More than 3,500 visitors came through the doors within the first hour, according to organisers.
"It's our fist time here and the scale is amazing," said Felix Schmitt, a German tourist who was attending with his son.
"We are just looking around at the moment but we are looking at the offers for the notebooks. We have friends who live in Dubai and they have told us that there tend to be good deals on those."
For Dexter Pineda, a Filipino, the aim was to get the best deal on a Samsung Galaxy Note II smartphone. But strategy was crucial, he said. "I have collected as many of the brochures as possible and now I'm just checking through the prices to compare," he said. "I have a set budget but it's tempting to just buy stuff because of the offers but you have to be strict with yourself."
He also plans to attend the final day of the show. "I've been told some of the best discounts happen on the last day so I'll take a look then as well."
Raj Kiran, from Nepal, was visiting for the first time along with his two brothers. "The plan is to get an iPhone 5 but there are so many stalls and stages that it's a little confusing," he said. "We've been to the Jacky's area and are just taking a look at some of the smaller stalls. Maybe we can find a good deal."
Mueez Rahman, general manager of E-City Electronics, which has one of the largest stalls, said smartphones and tablet computers were expected to be the big sellers.
"Gitex Shopper has become renowned for offering consumers great deals and lots of freebies," he said. "It's what people expect when they come here, and even though it's only a few hours in to the first day we are seeing more people compared with the first day last year.
"I think what is also helping is the great transport links, particularly with the Metro station within walking distance to the hall."
* The article has been amended since it was first published to reflect that it was Eng. Hussain Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, who opened the Gitex spring show and not Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, as was originally stated.