Dubai: Gaming and virtual reality will take centre stage at the latest edition of Gitex Shopper, the annual consumer electronics show kicking off in Dubai on Tuesday.
The event will bring together retailers and gadget manufacturers to showcase their latest technologies, from smart home products to smartphones, laptops, and gaming devices. It comes amid a decline in sales in many segments within consumer electronics as the market matures and as spending softens in the UAE.
Organisers say that smartphones will continue to dominate the floor of the show, together with laptops, tablets, large screen TVs. Retailers will also showcase 5G enabled smartphones.
Pankaj Kumar, head of omnichannel retail at Jumbo Electronics, said there is growing demand for larger TVs and smartphones as data and streaming services become more popular. Consumers are also opting for lighter, thinner laptops, he said.
“Another key area for growth is gaming,” said Avinash Shanbhogue, portfolio director for exhibitions at Dubai World Trade Centre. “Gaming laptops have seen growth and will be a feature of the show with … a large Shopper Games feature. We will also showcase key games across consoles, PC, and online platforms.”
The Shopper Games will include PC and console tournaments as well as deals on gaming products. First-time exhibitor Monster will be at Gitex, showcasing its notebooks and accessories for gamers.
Other areas of growth at Gitex this year are expected to be Artificial Intelligence (AI) and virtual reality.
Shanbhogue said that while AI available for retail consumers remains high-end, the segment will still attract visitors who are keen to see the latest capabilities of AI.
“Virtual reality within the gaming sector is growing, and we will see queues for those wanting to test it out,” he said.
Similarly, wearable technology is expected to be another key attraction at Gitex, especially as consumers become more health conscious.
According to research from Euromonitor International, wearable electronics are performing relatively well in the UAE, with over 1 million units sold in 2018 as luxury and fashion brands also launch their own wearables to attract those who are more interested in the aesthetics than technology.
Other categories, however, aren’t doing as well. Isam Arshad, analyst for home and tech at Euromonitor, said that 2018 saw a 9.7 per cent decline in the UAE in mature consumer electronic products such as laptops, digital cameras, and LCD TVs.
He said that consumers in the country are still refraining from spending until they gain more confidence. Regional festivals and in-store promotions do tend to gain consumer attention, though, and boost sales.
“The first and second quarters of 2019 are expected to dip by 10 per cent in terms of value of the total consumer electronics market, with volume declining,” Arshad said. “Recovery is expected after the third and fourth quarters of 2019, and following further growth in 2020 with the Expo.”
But organisers of Gitex are confident in the event’s appeal.
Dubai World Trade Centre’s Shanbhogue said that Gitex continues to attract visitors for its deals and offers, which aren’t available in stores or online. He said the event brought in 100,000 visitors last year, and is expected to attract a similar number in its 29th edition this year. Visitors spent an average of Dh1,100 at the show last year, he added.
What you need to know about the show:
What: Gitex Shopper 2019, the consumer electronics show bringing together retailers and tech brands
Where: Shaikh Saeed Halls, Dubai World Trade Centre
When: September 24-28, from 11am to 11pm
How much: Tickets are Dh20 per person per entry, and are available online or at the door. Student groups of 50 and more can get tickets at Dh10 per student. Entrance is free for children under the age of five.
Why: Organisers say you can’t get the same deals on electronics anywhere else, be it online or in malls