Smartphone stock
Ready for a smartphone upgrade? UAE retailers are hoping there will be quite a lot of that in the coming days, as they line up sizeable discounts on the latest models. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Sizeable discounts are showing up for the first time this year on popular smartphone models and other tech gadgets, with retailers hoping to catch shoppers’ attention in time for Eid-related buying spree. For instance, there are multiple deals where the iPhone 14 has seen price cuts of Dh500 and over, with some offers adding up to Dh1,000 off (based on add-ons being thrown in).

There are also aggressive price-offs on older iPhone and iPad ranges, as retailers rush to clear stocks. The wearables are the other category where Apple continues to make headway, and retailers expect demand for the top-of-the-line Apple Watch Ultra to tick along nicely in the coming weeks. (There are even ‘free’ iPhone 14s available – provided you test-drive a pre-owned vehicle from Cars24.)

On the latest Samsung flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S23, easy instalment schemes are available from e& and where the monthly payment comes to under Dh100.

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“The first two weeks of Ramadan tend to be slower for tech retail, and there is also ample caution being shown by UAE consumers on non-essential spending,” said a retailer. “The latest offers on smartphones and other tech show retailers willing to go the extra mile with the discounts.”

A new state of the retail sector report from Majid Al Futtaim, the Dubai-headquartered mall operator, says that shoppers in the UAE are taking a wait-and-watch approach on what they buy and when. Discount offers need to convince before shoppers are willing to make the buy.

Cashback schemes

Cashback promotions continue to be popular in an environment where consumers are taking their time on non-essential spending. "There are a lot of offers with cashback support from the leading online shopping portals, and it's a trend reflected more and more in the physical retail space," said a retailer. "Even credit card based spending now promises instant cashbacks." 

Too close to FIFA World Cup year

When it comes to TVs, after a bumper year for category sales in 2022 – driven in large measure by the FIFA World Cup in Qatar – it could be quite difficult to pull off another round of heavy demand.

“The FIFA World Cup definitely helped the large TV segment, and one would expect some sort of stagnation to seep into demand this year,” said Jobin Joejoe, Deputy Managing Director at Sony MEA. “But Sony as a brand is playing mainly in the premium TV category, and we find shoppers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are still active. Plus, there is a lot of wealth moving into the UAE and that too is showing up in premium TV sales.”

According to Joejoe, there is no longer any of the supply issues denting the consumer electronics sector, from the non-availability of chips. “From Sony’s point of view, the pipeline is clear through the rest of the year,” he added. Sony last week put on a display of its upcoming TV models, with the focus clearly being on going bigger into the premium space, with prices of the Bravia XR 2023 line up starting Dh4,999.

“On large-screen TVs (65 inches and above), Sony MEA witnessed a growth trend of 15 per cent in the UAE for FY2022,” said Joejoe. “We expect a similar growth trend in FY2023 as well.”

Ramadan sales trends

Sandeep Ganediwalla, regional Partner at the consultancy Redseer, reckons 'electronics sales are expected to be stable as a lot of shopping already happened during the Black Friday promotions in November/early December. "This will be one factor deciding demand trends in the coming days," said Ganediwalla. "We can expect more aggressive discounts and stock clearing from retailers."

Shoppers will not mind that one bit...