ONLINE SHOPPING
Time to go online and check out the deals. Amazon's 'Prime Day' and noon's 'Big Yellow Sale' are locked and ready to roll - and UAE shoppers could well be in the mood. Image Credit: Pxfuel/CreativeCommons

Dubai: UAE shoppers will be spending quite a bit of time online this weekend as the region’s biggest e-marketplaces – Amazon and noon – launch promotions with the promise of 40-80 per cent discounts. The intention is to catch some of the heavy buying ahead of schools reopening as well as cater to those who have been moving into new homes (owned and rented), of which there has been some sizeable activity in recent weeks.

Amazon has the ‘Prime Day’ for its Prime members starting tomorrow (July 23) and extending through the weekend, with branded tech gadgets being listed at discounts of up to 47 per cent. Gaming devices too are getting a lot of attention from Amazon, while fashion offers will see select brands trimming up to 69 per cent off.

Stefano Martinelli, GCC Retail Director at Amazon
Stefano Martinelli, GCC Retail Director at Amazon said: "“This year we have more deals than ever across local and international brands, with even deeper discounts to be had working with our Mastercard and ADCB banking partners.”

At noon, the summer promotions – ‘Big Yellow Sale’ - also start tomorrow, but will extend all the way to midnight July 29. Discounts hit the 80 per cent, plus shoppers get to have ‘money-saving’ bank offers at checkout moment. Among key offers, television sets have been slashed from Dh3,999 to Dh1,999.

“Prime Day and Big Yellow Sale will give a good indication of UAE shopper mindset, especially with all the talk about inflation pushing prices higher across categories,” said a retail industry analyst. “By having these promotions towards the end of July, noon and Amazon will have a clear run on the early shopping for the start of the new season in September.”

Cues for offline retailers too

Brick-and-mortar/omni-channel retailers have their own campaigns going on, and the mood is that shoppers are waiting to see all the competing offers before making up their minds one way or the other. And there is also the cost of the merchandise to be considered.

Most retailers agree that product prices – whether it’s electronics or fashion – have gone through increases in the first-half, whether through shipment or material costs or the fluctuations of currencies. Ashish Panjabi, COO at Jacky’s Electronics, says home appliances have definitely seen a price bump as “there are only a limited number of fridges and cookers you can fit into a container. A container typically has space for 20-30 of the bigger fridges.”

There are only a limited number of fridges and cookers you can fit into a container. A container typically has space for 20-30 of the bigger fridges.

- Ashish Panjabi, COO at Jacky’s Electronics

These days, UAE consumers are fixated on the big is good, whether that applies to their living spaces or fridges. (Smartphone screens have long transitioned into big and wide mode.)

Mobiles, notebooks

Online and offline retailers will be hoping that the mobile and notebook category will attract better returns than was the case last year. This, however, should be seen in the context of what happened during the pandemic year of 2020. “Nearly every resident upgraded to a new notebook, printer and smartphone that year because of WFH, and that’s why this category didn’t perform as well last year,” said a retailer. “But there are new residents moving into the UAE and kids needing new devices – this summer promises to definitely be better.”

On pricing, the latest MacBook Air with M2 processor is $200 more expensive. This time, Apple has not cut the price of its previous model. Notebook prices remain on the higher side, with chip shortages continuing to be the reason. Latest mobile phone launches, however, have not had much of a price increase because brands have removed the adapters to keep their costs in check.

How will UAE shoppers respond?

Vijay Samyani

Shoppers are getting quite cautious when it comes to spending. The reason is inflation, and if the purchasing power has come down, shoppers to be more discrete. They will wait and wait for deals that will enable them to buy within their prescribed budgets. We are seeing this trend more and more.

- Vijay Samyani, Managing Director at Concept Brands Group

Plus, many residents are still on holidays or have just returned. Will they come back to immediately shopping?

The flavour of this summer spending is travel. People were not travelling for a few years because of the pandemic. This year, the majority are travelling - for longer and not micro-holidays.

- Sandeep Ganediwalla, Partner at Redseer Consultancy

Or they could have returned and getting set for some serious shopping, starting this weekend - and with an eye on the 40-80 per cent off discounts.

No increases on appliance prices
According to Rajat Asthana, Head of Sales at Eros Group, there has been a ‘stable’ supply of electronics and appliances from "our major manufacturing sources based in China, Thailand, Turkey, and East Europe. On the other hand, the easing of the shipping situation in the last two months has only helped normalise supplies disrupted earlier. We at Eros have come up with more aggressive and value-based promotions throughout the summer that has attracted more consumers".
Rajat Asthana

No category of appliances, electronics, mobile phones or laptops has seen price increases. However, some select brands of mobile phones and laptops are having some issues with regular supplies due to chip shortages. But there are other brands that can fill in easily

- Rajat Asthana, Head of Sales at Eros Group