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Gitex: Smartphone and tablet accessories set to be best-sellers

Regional market for accessories doubling year on year, experts say

Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
Visitors at Sharaf DG stand at Gitex Shopper-Spring Edition, at Dubai World Trade Centre and Exhibition Halls.
Gulf News

Dubai: Scores of buyers at Gitex Shopper this spring are likely to bag accessories for their smartphones and tablets. The regional market value for smartphone and tablet accessories has been doubling year on year for the past three to four years, according to Patrick Hayati, managing director-emerging markets at Belkin, a manufacturer of consumer electronics, specialising in connectivity devices.

Accessories “contributed to 40 per cent of our total revenue last year in the Middle East and Africa. Our business is growing at 58 per cent in the accessories category this year compared to last year,” said Hayati.

Smartphone and tablet accessories were not a big category for regional retailers three years ago — contributing to single- digit profit margins, says Zafar Islam, general manager of operations at Emax. Instead, retailers focused on selling devices. However, three years later as regional demand for accessories is growing, so are the offerings from retailers. Islam says that if retailers focus on selling more accessories, they can see double-digit profit margins in that category in the coming years.

Smartphone and tablet accessories accounted for “close to ten per cent” of Emax’s total revenue last year, Islam said, adding that these are expected to make up between 14 to 15 per cent this year.

Several factors are driving demand, including the wider availability of accessories, which pushes consumers to change their smartphone and tablet covers, according to Ashish Panjabi, chief operating officer at Jacky’s.

“People get bored of their covers and constantly want to change them,” he said.

Another factor contributing to the demand is the sensitivity of the devices, leading customers to buy protective covers so that the devices can last longer. Additionally, the limited colours of the devices, which are normally either black or white, are driving some consumers to buy coloured covers with designs that reflect their unique personalities, he said.

According to Hayati, Belkin’s covers for Apple’s i-Phones and i-Pads are the fastest-selling. Meanwhile, Panjabi says at Jacky’s i-Phone covers sell faster, mainly due to their wider range; plus he believes Apple customers are more loyal.

Meanwhile, Islam says at Emax Samsung smartphone covers reign.

“[Customer] loyalty is shifting to Samsung smartphones,” he said.

However, he added that i-Pad covers lead in the tablet category.

Emax are selling i-Phone 5 covers between Dh100 to Dh200 at Gitex Shopper, while Jacky’s are selling covers for the same model for reduced prices — buyers can get a cover for Dh52, which was originally priced at Dh69.

— Sarah Algethami is a trainee at Gulf News.