Sean Connor, General Manager of PLUG INS
PLUG INS, the multi-brand consumer electronics and IT retailer of Al-Futtaim group has launched the third edition of its biannual Consumer Electronics (CE) survey in what is gradually evolving into an index that charts shoppers’ purchasing patterns, behaviors and emerging trends in the UAE’s AED 14bn CE market.
“Every six months, our survey provides useful insights about UAE consumers’ actual short-term shopping activities and future purchasing intentions as we aspire to unearth useful insights that can help us acquire a better understanding of what our customers really want in terms of service and product range,” said Sean Connor, General Manager of PLUG INS.
“As customer is king, gaining access to more intimate consumer insights can potentially help shape the marketing and commercial strategies of retailers, vendors and other key stakeholders in order to further improve the overall customer experience as gadgets and electronic devices take centre stage in our modern lifestyles.
The third consecutive survey which was conducted online gathered responses from 1,974 respondents from over 50 nationalities over a period of 30 days (August 6, 2014 to September 6, 2014). The survey looked at four key CE categories including Smartphones, TV’s, Laptops and Tablets and Cameras.
Key findings from this semester’s survey are summarized below:
General CE trends
Of the total 1,974 people who participated in the survey, 92% respondents made a major electronics purchase over the last 12 months with Smartphones (68.6%) topping their shopping list followed by TV’s (36.3%), Laptops (35.9%), Tablets (34.8%) and Camera (23.4%).
The average annual UAE household spend on electronics remained almost identical to the amount of the previous survey and stood at AED 4,793.
55.3% of the respondents spend 1-3 hours inside retail stores prior to purchase.
76.2% of the survey participants said they plan to purchase a smartphone in the next 6 months roughly 10% more compared to the April 2014 survey and 15% higher versus the inaugural survey held a year ago.
Brand and price remain the two dominant considerations driving smartphone consideration and purchase.
Samsung (56.1%), Apple (41.8%) slightly increased their market share at the expense of Blackberry which saw its slice of the market drop from 25.9% in April 2014 to 20% in September 2014 according to the respective PLUG INS surveys.
Making a phone call is still the primary reason consumers use their mobile devices followed by SMS, social media, instant messaging and email.
30”-39” panel size leads in terms of current size of TV’s owned with 51.2% of the respondents followed by 34.1% with 40”-42”.
38.2% of the survey respondents said their next panel size would be 40”-42” and a further 33.5% said they would buy the 46”-50” panel size.
The primary motivator for purchasing a new TV is upgrading technology (42.1%).
The most appealing technological feature for consumers is the ultra HD screens mentioned at the top of the list by 51.2% of the respondents.
Tablets and Laptops
Ownership of tablets (77%) and laptops (92%) remained unchanged versus the previous survey.
In terms of purchase intent, 57% of respondents said they plan to buy a tablet, 10% higher than six months ago.
When buying a tablet or laptop brand continues to be the biggest influencer followed by device compatibility and screen size.
The primary use for tablet was browsing (31%), children’s entertainment (21.6%) and educational (13%). Primary purpose for laptops is work (48.8%).
65% of the survey participants said they plan to purchase a camera
More people are splashing out on DSLR cameras with 79.3% of the respondents (73.7% in April 2014 and 72.6% in September 2013) and there is a decline in people buying point-and-shoot 9.3% (10.5% in April 2014 and 12.2% in September 2013) and camcorders with 11.6% (15.8% in April 2014 and 15.2% in September 2013) When it comes to cameras, brand was the biggest influencer followed by price and features
Connor added: “Big data and analytics can help us decode these insights, contextualize them within a wider framework and touch points across our business model and leverage them for planning purposes with the ultimate goal of acquiring a better understanding of what our customers really want in terms of service and product range.”
PLUG INS represents over 400 leading brands through an established network of eight stores located in popular shopping destinations: Dubai Festival City, The Dubai Mall, Al-Ghurair City, Mall of the Emirates, Deira City Centre, two stores in Abu Dhabi Marina Mall and Al Wahda Mall.