THE Middle East Exclusive exhibition is crucial for developing new business in the region, exhibitors say.
The region’s only all-encompassing luxury goods event ends a three-day run at the Dubai World Trade Centre today (Wed Nov 29) and has proved a launch-pad for entry or increased share of the Middle East’s lucrative market for elite products
Justin Boutros, managing director of organisers Channels Exhibitions, stresses that over the show’s four-year history, international brands have come to regard it as an indispensable showcase for their products.
“For many brands this event is – or was – their first step into the region and they tell us that without it their growth would have been a lot more difficult,” he said.
“Many companies are now refocusing their attention on our region and looking to expand across key duty free locations and down-town operations. Being part of Middle East Exclusive enables these brands to have direct one-stop access to retail operators, buyers, and distributors.”
His views were borne out by the Dubai-based Swiss Watch Group that represents 15 leading Swiss brands – writing instruments and accessories as well as watches.
General manager Samer Elassadi says that Middle East Exclusive is a prime opportunity to show new products to the retail and duty-free trade, especially as Gulf customers have an insatiable demand for the latest watch fashions.
“The market for fashion watches is growing 17 per cent faster than for classic timepieces,” he said. “It’s common for many Gulf customers to change their watch every two or three months as a new fashion model is launched – spending anything from $1,000 to $,6000 to do so.
“In fact, they want new models faster than we can produce them.”
First-time exhibitor MCM, the European luxury accessories and luggage brand, plans many new openings in duty free locations and downtown markets, and describes Middle East Exclusive as “the ideal place to launch.”
“This is the springboard we need to gain more interest within the region,” said Gerry Munday, the company’s global travel retail director.
Danish fashion jewellery house Pilgrim reports similar success. Exhibiting for the second year, the company credits Middle East Exclusive with playing a major role in its growth in the region.
“We are now focusing very much on the Middle East, looking at expanding with key partners in duty free,” said travel retail and export director Marianne Salomon. “We also plan to have our own boutiques in the region. Last year we met many new contacts and this year we have had some very positive meetings. At no other event can we meet all of these people and have the same quality time with them.”
Another newcomer, Protégé International is also delighted with the response to the company’s range of cigarettes. CEO Andre Levy ceo said: “If you are going to be in this region then you should be at this show. It is a focal point for the region and it allows us to meet our customers and potential customers in the market place. I do not believe customers should have to travel far to see us so Middle East Exclusive is perfect for our needs.”