posted on 07/10/2012: 515 views
As the region's biggest technology retail show comes to a close on Saturday night, exhibitors have reported a surge in sales, a jump in consumer confidence, a phenomenal rush of bargain hunters scouting for throwaway deals and fabled last-minute discounts.
From being just a marketplace for computers and accessories, Gulf Information and Technology Exhibition (Gitex) Shopper — the eight-day shopping extravaganza held at its new home this year — has emerged as the single largest retail platform for technology in the Middle East.
With girls in metallic silver and red dresses handing out discount leaflets every 50 metres, sales agents shouting at the top of their voice about deals of the hour and thumping music blaring from every kiosk, decibels and adrenaline ran high at the Gitex Shopper on Saturday night. In a world where the computer hardware is in the user's pocket and the data in the cloud, buzzwords such as connectivity, smart innovation, voice recognition and retina display filled the air as crowds surged across the exhibition halls at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre on the closing day.
Organisers confirmed that more than Dh50 million has been invested in bundles and freebies this year, which was matched by a rise in consumer spending.
"We've seen an upswing in numbers and the brands are pretty happy with the number of buyers. Most retailers have come up with bundle offers and you can win anything from a car to gadgets, which adds incentives for consumers to buy more than they came in for,” Hemesh Chandavarkar, industry group manager at the Dubai World Trade Centre, organisers of Gitex Shopper, told Gulf News.
Apart from a bullish consumer sentiment, a key reason behind the rise in spending was also due to the Shopper moving to its new venue at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Many electronics companies reported massive increases in sales over last year, stressing that parking arrangements for more cars, easier accessibility to the Metro and a greater affordability of electronics drew in more shoppers.
The total footfall was expected to exceed organisers' expectations of 175,000, while total retail sales were expected to cross Dh200 million.
"I am a bit of a gadget freak and it is great for me to browse and make comparisons among so many brands and products under one roof before deciding on a purchase,” Ahmad Shareef, an Egyptian expat browsing the kiosks, told Gulf News.
Sa'ad Mohideen from Turkey, who bought an MP4 player, was impressed with the variety on display. "I was able to find something to suit my budget and the prices are definitely better at the Shopper than at most malls,” he said.
Consumer electronics giants LG and Samsung chose the Shopper to launch their latest additions to the market — showcasing the 55-inch OLED TV and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 respectively.
A majority of participating retailers described this year's Shopper as a "phenomenal success” and the crowd as bigger than last year's.
"Our sales were up by 50 per cent in the last three days,” Ashish Panjabi, chief officer at Jacky's Electronics, said. "Some of the hot products this year were laptops, tablets, smartphones and digital cameras,” he added. According to Nilesh Khalkho, CEO of Sharaf DG, the show has boosted their sales and brand awareness considerably.
"The show has been fantastic,” Neelesh Bhatnagar, CEO of Emax, said. "We are already running out of stock of some models and even the vendors were not able to supply us. This issue is being faced by many retailers. Nobody was prepared for this show to become such a success. Gitex Shopper remains a staple event in our retail activity calendar. From a local marketing perspective, it is a must for every electronics retailer to participate and we have had positive results to date. This year has again proven to be successful, with all targets achieved,” he said. – Gulf News
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