x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

UAE demand for Samsung smartphones boosts Eros revenues

A surge in the popularity of Samsung smartphones helps one of the UAE's largest electronics distributors increase revenues by 40 per cent this year.

Deepak Babani, the chief executive of Eros Group, said the smart TV segment is becoming increasingly important and will be a focus for 2013. Razan Alzayani / The National
Deepak Babani, the chief executive of Eros Group, said the smart TV segment is becoming increasingly important and will be a focus for 2013. Razan Alzayani / The National

A surge in the popularity of Samsung smartphones helped one of the UAE’s largest electronics distributors increase revenues by 40 per cent this year.

Eros Group is the sole distributor in the UAE for mobile phones made by the South Korean company, in addition to acting as agent for other brands including Lennox and Hitachi.

Eros had to revise its forecast for 2012 after hitting 75 per cent of its yearly target by April.

As the year approaches an end, Eros is recording a turnover of Dh3.5 billion (US$952.9 million), up from Dh2.5bn last year.

Not all of the areas of the business increased equally. Sales of appliances were flat, while electronics grew at about 15 to 20 per cent.

“It was basically driven by smartphones. We almost had a 60 to 70-per-cent growth in mobile phones,” said Deepak Babani, the chief executive of Eros Group, which has 35 showrooms across the country.

The growing popularity of the Android operating system boosted sales, he said. But Eros Group also put plans in place to capitalise on the trend.

“We put about 15 vans in the market. We found that there are almost 1,200 to 1,500 small mobile phone shops and they are selling about 10 to 15 mobile phones every day,” Mr Babani said.

“They would call and the van would deliver immediately because it was in the vicinity. That gave us a real big boom to the business, while we also delivered to the organised retailers like the Carrefours and the Lulus. This gave us a market share.”

However, the group has not been as quick in other areas. Mr Babani recognised that the group entered the smart TV segment late, but it is becoming increasingly important and will be a focus for the business next year.

The company introduced the Chinese brand TCL to the market about two years ago and its sales have grown from 20,000 to 80,000 since.

“In 2013 we are looking [to sell] about 120,000 TVs,” Mr Babani said.

“We are focusing on price to quality and good design. They are being very cooperative and giving us the designs that we want and many times we have a say in how the design takes place.”

Eros is planning for more growth next year, although the current estimate is “a little bit cautious,” according to Mr Babani.
“Next year we are talking about Dh4.3bn, but if things go our way, maybe Dh4.5bn.”

gduncan@thenational.ae