x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Electronics makers are all charged up at Dubai's Gitex Shopper exhibition

Electronics retailers participating in at Dubai's Gitex Shopper were charged up yesterday and ready to take advantage of a surge in consumer confidence.

Visitors takes a closer look at Gitex Shopper in Dubai. Participating companies this year say they have high sales expectations. Satish Kumar / The National
Visitors takes a closer look at Gitex Shopper in Dubai. Participating companies this year say they have high sales expectations. Satish Kumar / The National

Electronics retailers participating in Dubai's Gitex Shopper exhibition were plugged in yesterday to take advantage of a surge in consumer confidence.

Companies are targeting sales increases of between 8 per cent and 55 per cent this year on the back of new branches and product launches. Emax recorded a 45 per cent rise in business last year and is targeting an even bigger number in the year ahead.

It opened four stores in 2012 and aims to add a further eight this year in Sharjah, Dubai, Al Ain and Abu Dhabi, taking its total number of outlets in the UAE to 21.

"We are a reasonably big player and becoming bigger by the day," said Neelesh Bhatnagar, the chief executive of Emax. The chain is targeting 55 per cent growth this year, boosted by its eight new stores.

Eros Group also plans to expand this year, adding about four more outlets to its current network of 32 stores in the UAE.

Eros, which recorded a 49 per cent rise in sales in 2012, also expects further increases this year, of 18 to 25 per cent.

"The first quarter has moved decently, although March was a little dull," said Niranjan Gidwani, the deputy chief executive.

Retailers say there are plenty of grounds for optimism.

Consumer confidence is continuing to rise, they point out, encouraging people to spend more and buy top range.

Tourists have also returned, bringing holiday money to spend in the UAE's malls. And new products are set to be launched by Samsung and other technology companies.

"Every time Apple says there is a new iPhone, everyone wants to replace it. Every time Samsung says there is an S4 coming, people start looking for that," said Ashish Panjabi, the chief operating officer of Jacky's, which is budgeting for growth between 8 and 12 per cent this year, although it is hoping for more.

Smartphones, tablets and digital SLR cameras and televisions are the most popular purchases, according to retailers.

"In smartphones there is a tremendous growth but in laptops the overall market is becoming a bit slow. I think laptops are being replaced with smartphones and tablets. I think that's what is happening," said Mr Bhatnagar.

However, consumers hardly even have to choose between them any more, as companies such as HP are launching products like Envy x2, a "hybrid tablet-cum-PC", said Suad Merchant, HP's Middle East marketing manager.

The company has also released the ElitePad 900, a hybrid tablet targeted at business people."We launched it in the Middle East back in February," said Ms Merchant. "Emirates Airline was our first worldwide corporate customer. It has already launched it as part of its in-flight programme."