Can Gitex Shopper rejuvenate weak consumer confidence in UAE?

Key retailers are geared up for the five-day shopping fiesta as many new products launched recently will be at the 29th edition of the Gitex Shopper which opens doors on Tuesday.

Some of the retailers such as Sharaf DG, Emax, Jumbo and Axiom are all out to attract buyers and give a boost to weak consumer confidence despite Jacky’s not taking part.

 “We are not participating this year as we have two major projects to focus on. We are taking a break this year and be back again next year,” Mahesh Chotrani, assistant vice-president at Jacky’s Electronics, told TechRadar Middle East.

Samsung, which used to have a huge dedicated stand, is also out of the show this time.

Smartphones are expected to be the darling of the visitors as usual due to the new launches from leading brands and promotions by other brands.

Sanmeet Singh Kochhar, general manager for the Middle East at HMD Global, said that Nokia has some exciting offers and promotions to give away and the launch of Nokia 7.2 smartphone in two variants.

The 6.39-inch triple rear camera setup, including 48MP main Zeiss Optics plus 8MP and 5MP and a 20MP front camera, comes in 4GB and 64GB (AED 699) and 6GB and 128GB (AED 1,099).

“Gitex is a destination for smartphone shopping and a good opportunity to communicate our proposition to the community,” he said.

Pankaj Kumar, head of omnichannel retail at Jumbo Electronics, said that the event will be better than last year, mainly due to the venue.

“This is the location where Gitex used to happen and we used to do better numbers. Ever since the organisers changed the venue, there was a slight challenge in sales. We are positive about the event and we have taken a bigger space than last year. The offers are going to be better. For us, smartphones, IT products and TVs are going to be crowd pullers,” he said.

Jumbo is also having a dedicated section on smart products such as smart cameras, voice assistants, smart locks, smart bells and smart home entertainment to give visibility.

iPhone 11 Pro to help bolster premium segment

Given that 90% of the UAE smartphone market is under $800, Nabila Popal, senior research manager at International Data Corporation (IDC), said the release of the iPhone 11 at a lower price point of under $700, will certainly boost Apple’s sales. 

“Additionally, the subsequent price reductions in the still popular iPhone XR (previously the most popular Apple device in terms of shipments), Apple is likely to post a very healthy quarter-on-quarter growth. With many loyal Apple fans in the region, the iPhone 11 Pro series will also help bolster the premium segment that has undoubtedly seen erosion in share in the smartphone market,” she said.

She added that Huawei is expected to take a slight quarter-on-quarter decline in third-quarter to balance high inventory held by partners in the second quarter – which was due to the brief market panic as a result of the news of the US-Huawei ban in late May. 

However, with things resuming to normal, she said that Huawei is expected to be well on its way to return to previous shipment levels by the end of the third quarter.

6.9% smartphone shipments growth in Q3

Akash Balachandran, senior research analyst at IDC, said that the third-quarter smartphone shipments are forecasted to post a 6.9% year-on-year growth. 

“This is a great indication of the overall recovery of the smartphone market, which same time last year suffered a 16.5% year-on-year decline,” she said.

Deepak Babani, executive vice-chairman at Eros Group, said the UAE consumer electronics market is declining by 10% this year and the bigger declines are in the TV and tablet segments. 

Quoting a GfK report, he said that the smartphone market value is down by 5% for the year.

Prominently, he said that there are three brands – Samsung, Apple and Huawei with an overall market share of close to 80% of the total market.

Craze of Gitex Shopper waning

Popal said that many consumers do not find as much incentive any longer to go out of their way, spend extra time and money, to attend and purchase smartphones at Gitex. 

Regardless, the event remains important during the year; she said that both for the shipment and sellout of low-end and mid-market devices as well as a placeholder for channel and market players to engage in trade and export deals and certainly helps sustain the overall smartphone market.

Isam Arshad, research analyst at Euromonitor International, said that consumers, who follow Gitex sincerely, will purchase tickets and go there to see the product and the technology and make plans for future purchases. 

Babani said that there is really no charm in the event as the price drops at Gitex are available even after the event.

“Previously, IT brands were supporting the event and the entire rental cost used to come from the brands. Now, that support has shrunk and not much money put into the event. So, it has become a challenge,” he said.

(Image credit: DWTC)

Win big every day 

  • Shop for AED 2,000 and win AED 2,000 back
  • Visit and win daily prizes including iPhone XRs, Bissell vacuum cleaners, Honor smartphones and The Dubai Mall Emaar discount vouchers
  • Walk-in and drive out in the mega prize of a 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
  • Scratch and win Blueair cabin car air purifiers and Tornado watches


  • A gaming zone purely for Virtual Reality enthusiasts
  • From PC Gaming to Playstation, Nintendo & retro games including Fortnite, CS:GO, Pokemon, Atari and more
  • Take part in the Fortnite tournaments on 26 and 27 and Super Smash Bros on 28, organized by IGN
  • Kidzania area for kids

At a glance

  • Where: Sheikh Saeed Halls
  • When: September 24-28
  • Ticket: AED 20 per person and children under five years enter free while student groups of 50 and above can get tickets at AED 10 per student
  • Event timings: 11AM To 11PM
  • Free parking: On spend of AED 300

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