Time to switch to the matches - the ones happening in Doha from next week. For UAE electronics retailers and online marketplaces, it's translating into a boom time for TV sales. The bigger the better. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: ‘Haven't you bought a new TV yet?’

That’s one question getting repeated through and through as UAE shoppers prepare for their World Cup viewing on their TVs – preferably new ones. Last weekend saw significant increases in TV purchases across electronics and online stores in the UAE, with retailers offering sizeable 10-30 per cent discounts on models. (Last week also had the ’11.11’ promotions, which helped with the offers.)

But TV showroom prices have already been reflecting a drop. “As there was a drop in panel prices along with the freight charges, there are some good offers to boost sales,” said a retailer. “We are seeing huge demand for TVs, especially the large size ones during the World Cup promotions. People want to have a ‘realistic’ experience while enjoying this much awaited event coming to the region for the first time.”

TV and appliances prices are dropping also because of extremely weak consumer demand in the US, the UK and Europe, with the UK economy seen as entering a full-fledged recession. “As a result, most manufacturers are having an excess capacity and excess supply that they're trying to offload to other markets, including the Middle East.”

The teams have arrived in Doha, and November 20 marks the kickoff date. UAE retailers expect another heavy round of TV sales happening in the next few days. Image Credit: Reuters

Ahead of all major global sporting events, TV sales in the UAE have registered a bounce. But this time, with the matches set to start in Doha, the sense of anticipation and need to upgrade is acute. There is a lot in play here as these sales would set up retailers for all the other activity set between now and year-end.

"The holiday season can account for 20 per cent or more of annual sales for many retailers," said Mohammed Badri, Director at Eros Group. 

A 40% increase in Google search interest for 'discount' indicates that shoppers want to find the best deals to make the most out of it.

- Mohammad Badri, Director, Eros Group

Where will you catch the World Cup?

Television viewing and social media platforms remain the main choices for UAE/Gulf based football fans wanting to catch up on the matches in Doha. This is where bigger screen sized TV models come with an inbuilt advantage – more so as their prices have become even more accessible, particularly in the 50- to 60- inch range.

According to Redseer, a retail focussed consultancy, gross merchandise value (GMV) could touch $8.4 billion for online retail sales in the Middle East during the coming Black Friday and other end-of-year sales. That’s against around $6.5 billion last year – clearly, shoppers in the region are not about to exercise caution on spending in the way their peers in the West are doing.

TikTok will be one of the major channels through which this audience will engage with content; in 2021, there were 129 billion views for the #football hashtag globally on the platform

- Joanne Chehab of TikTok

A time for brands to go all out

“The upcoming football season is an unparalleled opportunity for brands to tap into a huge, passionate, and highly engaged audience,” said Joanne Chehab, Head of Business Partnerships for Managed Services, Global Business Solutions, MENA – TikTok, which worked with Redseer on the new findings. “TikTok will be one of the major channels through which this audience will engage with content; in 2021, there were 129 billion views for the #football hashtag globally on the platform.

“TikTok is the place to be for brands who want to seize the football moment and meet/engage their audience with authentic and impactful stories.”

Not just local/regional shoppers, the report also found an additional $4 billion worth of spending opportunity from tourists and football fans coming to the region. Of this, 51 per cent is attributed to spending on accommodation.

That's all happening from next week. For now, UAE consumers are leading their way - and they have new TVs on their mind.

93% viewers will watch the FIFA World Cup with their friends and family, highlighting the theme of togetherness that will run through this period of celebration. The current digital era promises to make this football tournament the most inclusive one

- Akshay Jayaprakasan, Associate Partner, Redseer Middle East