Stock - Smartphone / Smartphone shopping
It's a buy. UAE retailers are giving all the reasons for shoppers to upgrade their smartphones. And laptops and gaming merchandise too while they are at it. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: Prices of electronics goods, smartphones and gaming merchandise are seeing sizeable drops, with retailers hoping to catch some of the consumer buying happening before they enter the peak of the summer travel season.

UAE retailers say the current prices on gadgets is at their lowest levels in 3 years. 

For instance, current prices on the iPhone 14 and Samsung’s Galaxy S23 are ‘between 10-15 per cent lower than at the time of their launch’, according to one leading gadget retailer. “Now, Apple and Samsung together account for well over 60 per cent of the UAE smartphone market share, and in some months that swells to even 80 per cent.”

Also, the deck is being cleared for the next major launch, which will be from Samsung later this month for its next Flip and Fold handsets. (The current version of the Flip is being listed at under Dh2,500.)

The price drops on smartphones became apparent from May onwards and in the last few days, the trend has only accelerated. On laptops cutting across brands, there are offers that are a full Dh1,000 less than their listed prices.

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Shoppers definitely are not complaining seeing the price dips on popular brands and across categories. With the school breaks on, gaming and related accessories are seeing some heavy demand, as players move on to the latest trending titles.

According to sources, while the ongoing Dubai Summer Surprises is one reason why offers are getting aggressive, the electronics and tech retail marketplace is also seeing excess inventory on some categories. TVs is one such.

Last November-December were undoubtedly the peak for TV upgrades by UAE consumers, coinciding with the FIFA World Cup in Doha. The price drops on TVs since then has to do with retailers clearing the stocks before the next models come through.

Samsungs’s phased introduction of premium products - S series in early part of the year and Fold and Flip in second-half - keeps the excitement around the brand alive throughout. And more business all through the year for retailers.

- Rajat Asthana, Chief Operating Officer at Dubai headquartered Eros Group

A bit of dumping too

“The main reason for the ongoing price cuts in all tech categories is because of an oversupply situation,” said a retailer. “There is dumping happening from outside the UAE – smartphones, TVs and even home appliances are seeing a drop in demand globally, and more so in Europe and the US.

“At the same time, UAE demand is holding up good – so anyone holding unsold stocks is trying to get those into the UAE. It is also the reason why discounts this DSS are among the most aggressive in the last 3 years.” Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Which is why retailers are bracing for the possibility of more dumping to happen in the weeks ahead. Market sources say that depending on the model and category, retailers are not giving the ‘grey’ importers much of a price advantage.

Strategic selling

Saleem Javed is the founder of Touch Tel, a Dubai-based firm specializing in smartphone sales and distribution. He says that the price clips on iPhone 14 and Galaxy S23 are more to do with retailers trying to carve out as much sales as possible before the expected summer slowdown.

“Because right now, there are still shortages on the iPhone 14 (from upgrades and tourist buying),” said Jaaved. “Schools out and that’s why gaming products are getting some heavy marketing and pricing push.

We are talking about price cuts that are happening selectively on categories. Definitely, it’s not the case with air-conditioners…

- Salim Jaaved

What are shoppers up to?

The pull from lower prices is still there, and shoppers are responding in full. It was on show during the week of the recent Eid holidays, and rated by retailers among the best of the year-to-date. (Heavy tourist shopping sprees helped too.)

If the next few weeks can deliver even some level of demand, the UAE’ tech retail sector will have set itself up for a cracking start to the new season from September.

The iPhone 15 will have a hand in that…