iPhone 15 in UAE
Apple kept prices in check for the latest iPhone 15, and which only went to confirm that pricing patterns are changing in the wider gadget space. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: It’s advantage shoppers as UAE’s tech and electronics sector sees a major reset of retail (and wholesale) prices on gadgets and appliances across the board.

That even the most in-demand smartphone launches too are seeing relative price stability is just another indicator that inflation is in retreat in these categories. This was starting to get noticeable by early summer, when UAE launch prices in high-demand categories (including televisions) came below or at 2022 levels.

Then, in September, Apple’s iPhone 15 launch kept prices on stable mode. “With smartphones, price stability is acutely important, because that’s one way of getting users to decide for an upgrade,” said a retailer. “Apple ticked that box, and November’s ‘Black Friday’ sales should be the real take-off point for iPhone 15 sales.”

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That’s a sentiment being widely shared in the local tech space, with the November and December promotions this year aiming to push offers that can score with shoppers who may be turning conscious about their spending.

Stock - Samsung
The foldable handset prices have so far held the line , given the novelty factor and it’s still a niche category.

A pattern of price drops

Rajat Asthana, Chief Operating Officer of Dubai-based Eros Group, says the recent price stability is not a one-off. “Smartphone launches from Samsung - and Apple - have seen no increase in prices over the previous generation, indicating that market is not in a position to take any increase, even with feature improvements in the latest launches.”

There could be other reasons for the price stability or slide, as the case may be. “The softness in demand globally coupled with better availability of chip components has improved the situation greatly post-Covid,” said Asthana. “This (weaker) demand and (higher) supply imbalance is creating a pressure on prices of electronics and appliances.

Rajat Asthana, Chief Operating Officer at Dubai-headquartered Eros Group
“With smartphones in particular, there are no more shortages of chips,” said Asthana. “Here too, there is a decline in global demand.”

What all of this is leading to is that gadget prices in the UAE is the first retail category that is seeing a drop since 2020, a period where supply issues had rocked just about every industry. And reflected in price inflation across these categories, whether it’s food commodities, cars, and even fashion.

Sales every week

Right now, the UAE tech space is already flooded with discount sales and value-added offers, and these are not just on smartphones either. Want to trade in your laptop? Chances are you will land possibly the best set of deals in the last 3 years, and with straight discounts for a previous-year model.

It’s quite noticeable in the iPhone space, with retailers holding iPhone 14 stocks going extra-aggressive on promotions. “There is a new offer running on the 14 (or earlier) versions almost every week and the price cuts are getting bigger.

“There are a lot of potential shoppers who are also waiting for the first wave of iPhone 15 promotions – and whether these will likely see the first price drops.”

China currency
The supply of chips that power everything from mobiles to gaming devices (and more) are no longer running short. That in its own way has cooled end-user prices on gadgets in recent months.

But there is an equally important dynamic that’s in play, and it helps when shoppers choose their next device.

“The Chinese currency has declined almost 10 per cent in one year,” said a retailer. “This is making exports out of China cheaper and that’s having an impact on retail price reduction. It’s more visible with gadgets.”
As for shoppers, they will not mind whatever reason is ensuring they are paying less…