Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry with Helal Saeed Al Merri, director-general of the DWTCA and Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing take a tour after opening the Gitex Shopper. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Smartphones are expected to be the darling of visitors at Gitex Shopper due to the new launches and promotions.
The five-day tech shopping fiesta, which opened doors to the public at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) on Tuesday, is showcasing the latest smartphones from leading brands at discounted prices with bundle offers on older models. 

Nilesh Khalkho, CEO of Sharaf DG, said that smartphones will be the highlight of the show. Laptops and TVs will do well due to the new form factors and special prices. 
Sanmeet Singh Kochhar, general manager for the Middle East at HMD Global, makers of Nokia phones, said that Gitex is one of the biggest destinations for technology, especially in the case of mobile phones.

“The UAE is one of the strategic markets for us. This year, we have multiple models in multiple price ranges. The different price bands have given us the opportunity to grow further compared to last year,” he said.

He added that HMD is offering good bundle offers and discounts across different price bands and across different retailers.
“We have grown significantly in the last one year in the UAE. We have a global product portfolio of 15 smartphones. Out of that, 11 models are already in the UAE. Despite starting sales last July, our sales were better and we expect better growth this year compared to last year,” he said.

“Gitex has always been about competitive prices and bundled offers. It’s is a place where you will have dedicated shoppers and where they get to see many brands and players under one roof and, at the same time, there will be some shoppers who prefer to purchase the same offers from retail outlets also. Our Gitex offers will also be available at all our retail and online outlets,” said Atul Joshi, head of distribution at Jumbo Electronics.

Khalkho said that customers will define where and what they will buy, hence “we believe that offers should be available at the event, in the stores and online but there is a need to create an atmosphere for more customers to walk-in to the Shopper location.

Even though there will be a boost in smartphone sales, Nabila Popal, research manager at International Data Corporation (IDC) said it would be interesting to note whether this would directly affect the volume share in total as retailers and distributors would avail this opportunity to clear old stocks in the channel.
“With the cancellation of the Spring Gitex, which I believe was a great move by the industry, it adds more value to the Fall Gitex. I believe it will do well as consumers who have been waiting for deals will surely try to take advantage of this opportunity,” she said.
Looking ahead, IDC expects 2018 to be a very tough year for the industry. 

Given the prevailing market challenges, the introduction of VAT in the UAE has put a further strain on consumer spending, Popal said and added that it will take some time for the market to adjust to this change and for consumer purchasing behaviour to return to normal.

As per IDC forecast, total handset market in UAE would be around 1.2 million units in the third quarter, registering an 8.3 per cent quarter on quarter fall and an 11.2 per cent decline year on year.