A time to order? Delivery times are getting longer on the hot-selling gadgets, and there are also chip shortages to contend with. Image Credit: Pexels

Dubai: Order now – if you want a good chance of getting that latest smartphone model at the earliest. Because this year, gadget retailers in the UAE are pulling out the big offers well ahead of the ‘Black Friday’ promotions at the end of the month. Retailers are also making it easier for those payments to be made.

Whether it is Sharaf DG or Eros Group or UAE telcos Etisalat and du, the offers on the latest smartphones are popping up everywhere. If someone can’t pay all of it upfront or don’t want to use their credit cards, there are still options they can select from. They could split their payments all the way up to 24 months if they choose to pick the latest iPhone from Etisalat. (An iPhone 13 Pro 128GB can be had for Dh190 for a 24-month payment plan, while for the all-new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, they plan can be stretched to 36 months at Dh201 a month.)

Or go BNPL

More retailers now allow the ‘buy now pay later’ option, whereby shoppers do not have to pay any interest on their purchase and the payments to be split over 10-12 months. That factor – of not having to shell out interest payments over and above the gadget price – is what’s turning shoppers to BNPL.

Earlier, “Banks used to convert purchases into EMI (equated monthly instalments), but today independent players like Spotii and tabby have come to market offering a similar concept to customers,” said Mohammad Badri, Director at Eros Group. “Consumers generally convert heavy purchases - mobiles, appliances, TVs, etc. - into EMIs depending on their payment capacity.”

The BNPL movement is going to have its biggest moments in the coming days and weeks, as consumer sentiments keep improving. If last year was about UAE shoppers discovering the buy now pay later option, this year’s holiday buying will all be about making full use of it.

Buy Now, Pay Later - Tamara
The 'buy now pay later' schemes are turning out to be quite popular as more retailers in the UAE tie up with fintech platforms to ease the purchase decision for shoppers. Image Credit: Supplied

A momentary advantage?

For retailers, BNPL offers them a chance to compete head-on with the mega online retailers. “Whether it is on discounts or with staggered payment plans, UAE retailers are matching what the online marketplaces have to offer,” said a top official at a leading electronics retailer. “As of now, the ecom giants are still getting a hang of buy now pay later schemes – this would traditional retailers a good shot this end-of-year season.”

Banks used to convert purchases into EMI - but today independent players like Spotii and tabby have come into the market offering a similar concept to customers

- Mohammad Badri of Eros Group

Black Friday impact

The Black Friday promotions were predominantly led by electronics and smartphone sales, with consumers planning their tech purchases during this time of the year. “Of late, consumers are moving from purchasing electronics only during Black Friday to shopping multiple times in a year,” said Sandeep Ganediwalla, Managing Partner at RedSeer, a retail consultancy. “This year, UAE’s online Black Friday sales of electronics is expected to be 63 per cent higher compared to a regular day, with almost 50 per cent of the online shoppers expected to buy at least one electronics product during Black Friday.”

Better hurry

This time, UAE’s tech shoppers will need to make up their minds soon. Because with the global shortage in chips that are the core of each smartphone or electronics gadget, delivery times have gone awry.

“Shipments for flagship mobiles of the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy are taking 3-4 weeks,” said Ganediwalla. “Despite the longer delivery time, pre-order demand for the new high-end smartphones is on the rise.”

This is why the smart retailer is bringing forward all those promotions and attractive payment plans. If that helps convince shoppers here to make those orders sooner rather than wait until the Black Friday offers, that will be a win in itself.

Stock - Tech sales in UAE
Black Friday promotions have historically been the magnet for tech and electronics shoppers in the UAE. Image Credit: RedSeer Consultancy