x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Extras and freebies draw crowds to Middle East’s largest conumer technology show, Gitex in Dubai

Arabian Gulf visitors flock to the second-last day of Gitex Shopper 2013 to buy Eid gifts before heading home for festivities.

DUBAI // Arabian Gulf visitors bought electronic gadgets as Eid gifts for relatives on Friday, a day before the Gitex Shopper 2013 ends and in time to return home for the festivities.

“I bought laptops, smartphones for my family,” said Ibrahim Al Shamsi, an inspector in Oman’s ministry of education who drove to Dubai with five friends for the event.

“We are here for a day and then we go back to Oman tomorrow. We have come to Gitex many times because of the very good offers that are better than those on the market.”

Mr Al Shamsi’s friend, Omani school librarian Mohammed Al Shamsi, picked up tablet computers for his family.

“I also bought a printer and food processor for my home,” he said. “Here we find so many brands and offers so everyone is buying a lot.”

Two friends from Yemen, who are regulars at Gitex, bought mobile phones for their wives.

“We are here for Gitex. We are coming for many years and we will go back home to celebrate Eid with our families,” said Jamal Ahmed, a civil engineer.

“The deals are very good so we come every time, and our wives also will be so happy with the phones as gifts.”

Smartphones, tablets and televisions were among the quick moving products at the shopping festival that ends on Saturday.

About 120 exhibitors displayed more than 30,000 products in communications, technology and entertainment.

More than 200,000 people are expected to visit Gitex this year.

Abu Dhabi residents also drove in with friends to make Eid purchases.

“I have bought phones for my sons and tablets for my daughters,” said Salah El Sayed, a finance manager and father of five.

“It is good marketing because of the good offers and it comes at the right time before Eid. Every year I come here and I feel the prices go lower. There are so many offers.”

But it was the give-aways that drew many consumers.

“I have been coming to Gitex for five years and I like the freebies we get,” said Marina Ramos, a Sri Lankan national who works at Dubai Duty Free.

“We got so many free products with a tablet we bought. It came with a printer, a cover and a free movie offer for a month. So even if it gets very crowded, it is worth the visit because who else offers you this?”

Some shoppers, however, had hoped for more competition between retailers and lower prices.

“I had expected much better pricing,” said Mohammad Ismail, a Bangladeshi expatriate who works in a telecommunication company in Abu Dhabi.

“There is only a Dh50 difference between the Toshiba laptop I want to buy in Abu Dhabi and in Gitex. So instead I bought an Acer laptop that had a better deal, or it would have been a waste for me to drive from Abu Dhabi for this.”

An Indian information technology engineer, Paolose Gilbert, from Abu Dhabi had the same complaint.

“The extras and additions on offer make it good value for money,” he said after buying a webcam that came with a free headset, an anti-virus package, a phone cover and car charges.

“But there should be more range, better availability and lower pricing in the good products and not just on the low-end gadgets. Then people will feel like coming here more because is will be worth it.”

Thousands streamed in early on Friday hoping to avoid huge crowds in the evening.

“We thought it best to come in early but it is still crowded,” said Majed Naim, a Lebanese legal counsellor on his first visit to Gitex, although he has lived in the UAE for nine years.

“The extras are very good because I got a card disk, a cover and screen protector at no extra cost for the iPad I bought. These extras make people return.”

The largest consumer information technology and electronic show in the Middle East, Gitex will be open from 11am until 11pm on Saturday.

rtalwar@thenational.ae