Dubai: Last-minute bargains and generous discounts did the trick, as retailers at Gitex Shopper 2018 recorded a sharp boost in sales volumes.

“Laptops, including high-end models and those featuring both seventh- and eighth-generation processors, have done exceptionally well,” said Mahesh Chotrani, assistant vice-president at Jacky’s Electronics. This category was “followed by smartphones and TVs, but camera sales did not do as well as expected. TV sales did, however, as prices are down by 40 per cent compared to last year.”

When asked about the five-day duration of Gitex Shopper this year compared to last year’s eight, Chotrani said the five-day format is better, as the energy packed in is more.

“The fixed cost has come down this year and which has made us keep the event healthy. But there a lot of improvements that need to be done from the organiser’s side despite doing a great job by providing free parking for shoppers, getting helpers to move the items and providing shuttle bus service from Metro station,” he said.

The mindset of show visitors is that they want the event to be as close to the Dubai Metro, he said, adding that the event has to move back to Dubai World Trade Centre’s (DWTC) Shaikh Saeed Hall instead of Za’abeel Hall, as the weather is not conducive for a longer walk.

The other thing that needs to be done, Chotrani said, is that Gitex-related events should be held within these premises and not outside. “The offers should be available only at the hall and not all around the city,” he said. “There is a big investment being made for the show. To make it sustainable, we have to do business here rather than at the retail outlets.

“I urge organisers, retailers and the industry to create more value for the shoppers by holding Gitex offers at the hall. They are far better than at the malls and give the shopper the power to bargain.”

Pro-consumer trend

David Wang, UAE country manager for Huawei Consumer Business Group, said that having a dedicated stand has paid off. He said Huawei is not only looking at sales volumes through their stand, but also improve its brand image.

“This year, our sales have more than doubled when compared to last year. On Friday, we sold more than 1,500 units [mobile, wearables, PCs and tablets], which was the same volume we sold in the first three days of last year’s Gitex.”

Huawei, the technology partner for the event, launched its new devices — MateBook X Pro laptop and MediaPad M5 tablets — at its stand. “We are getting very good enquiries for the laptop, as it was only available at Gitex; the products will be available with retailers only next month,” Wang added.

Atul Joshi, head of distribution at Jumbo Electronics, said that overall it was similar to last year. “We are satisfied with the sales as of Friday and expect a similar trend today [Saturday],” he said. “Smartphones are the front-runner followed by laptops. Among smartphones, it was Apple by value and many other brands by volume. Consumer traction is always higher for smartphones and laptops at Gitex.”

Asif Mohammad from India said it is always better for shoppers on the last day, especially with the flash sale. He bought a Dell laptop at a flash sale in the afternoon, for a Dh1,000 discount. “I will be here till evening to hunt for a 65-inch TV, if I can get hold of it for a good price; plus DWTC is giving free parking for six hours if you buy for more than Dh300,” Mohammad said.