Abu Dhabi: Indians returning from abroad bring nearly 3,000 flat-screen televisions into the country a day, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
The Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association estimated one million TVs were brought into the country each year by individuals.
Buying an imported 32-inch (81cm) LED television costs up to $474 (Dh1,741) in New Delhi compared with $355 in Dubai or $330 in Bangkok, making the duty-free exemption for individual air travellers a popular way to get a cheaper TV into India.
That ends on August 26 when the new import duty comes into effect.
Two major electronics retailers in the UAE — Jumbo Electronics and Jacky’s Electronics — said the new Indian import duty on flat-screen televisions will affect television sales in the UAE. However, another retailer, Plug-Ins, said they would not be affected.
“Indian tourists carrying flat-screen TVs to India account for approximately 15 to 20 per cent of total sales in the UAE,” Rakesh Khanna, Head of Sony at Jumbo Electronics, told Gulf News on Tuesday.
“With the 35 per cent import duty, this will no longer be a lucrative purchase and thus sales of flat-screen TVs will come down by at least 50 per cent,” he said.
The impact will mostly be on 32-inch and 40-inch televisions, Khanna said.
Jacky’s Electronics estimated that television unit sales could be affected by as much as 20 per cent overall.
“Sales revenue may not quite drop to this extent as tourists and Non-resident Indians [NRIs] generally buy 32-inch or 40-inch models to carry back to India,” Ashish Panjabi, COO of Jacky’s Electronics, told Gulf News on Tuesday.
Plug-Ins said it does not anticipate a significant decrease in sales as customers are always looking for the latest technology, a bigger screen and the best deals.
Sean Connor, General Manager at Plug-Ins, told Gulf News that Indian tourists and expatriates buying 32-inch to 42-inch televisions constituted a small portion of their business’ total television sales.