x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Strong sales as Gitex Shopper pushes the right buttons

Local retailers had something to shout about amid the bustle of yesterday's Gitex Shopper show in Dubai, with key electronics chains reporting bumper growth in sales.

About 175,000 visitors are expected to flock to the eight-day Gitex Shopper event. Duncan Chard for the National
About 175,000 visitors are expected to flock to the eight-day Gitex Shopper event. Duncan Chard for the National

Local retailers had something to shout about amid the bustle of yesterday's Gitex Shopper show in Dubai, with key electronics chains reporting bumper growth in sales.

A cacophony greeted visitors to the UAE's largest electronics event, which started on Saturday at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Promotional staff announced offers, giveaways and competitions designed to lure consumers. The retailer Jacky's Electronics was giving away a Nikon camera every 10 minutes, while du held a competition to win free talk time.

The promotions appear to be paying off, with two national electronics chains reporting a boost in revenues compared with last year's event.

Emax Electronics reported a 90 per cent increase in sales on last year, while Jumbo Electronics said revenues were up by 35 per cent in the first two days of the show.

"Sales are looking much better than our expectation," said Neelesh Bhatnagar, the chief executive at Emax. "Before the event, we expected a 40 per cent sales increase compared to last year, but now we are expecting 50 to 55 per cent growth by the end of it."

Laptops, smartphones and tablets were primarily driving the growth, according to the retailers. One standout product for most has been the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, which is making its Middle East debut at Gitex Shopper.

"The electronics market slowed down a little in August and September," said Mr Bhatnagar. "People were waiting for the event to do their electronics shopping and it is now the back-to-school period. That is why sales have been so good."

Last year, retailers at Gitex Shopper reported total sales of Dh193 million (US$52.5m), up 38 per cent over 2010.

Helal Saeed Almarri, the chief executive of Dubai World Trade Centre, said last week he expected sales growth to be in the "double digits" and easily exceed Dh200m this year.

About 175,000 visitors are expected to flock to the eight-day event, which runs until Saturday.

Retailers have reported a busier show this year, citing the new, more central location, the convenience of the nearby Dubai Metro and better marketing by the organisers.

"The location and venue this year is a lot more accessible with more transport options," said Ashish Panjabi, the chief operating officer at Jacky's, one of the largest exhibitors at the event.

A noisy stand outside the exhibition, run by the electronics brand Hewlett-Packard, drew a crowd offering free Baskin-Robbins ice-cream and goodie bags.

"In the end, it's all about the free stuff," screeched the MC.

That wasn't entirely true, as flocks of consumers laden with bags left the exhibition in the early evening.

Praseeda Gopalakrishnan, from India, said she had spent more than Dh5,000 on a laptop, printer, Samsung smartphone and headphones. "I came because of the offers and all the shops being here," she said.

Shoppers were also buying with business needs in mind.

Jignesh Kapadia, a finance manager at the building access and systems firm Al Falak, said he spent Dh25,000 to Dh30,000 on laptops and tablets. "You get the freebies, which we use as company gifts," he said.

Gitex Shopper was previously held at the Airport Expo Dubai. Its sister event, the Gitex Technology Week, begins on October 14.

bflanagan@thenational.ae