Favourable market conditions have been fueling robust consumer electronics spending in the UAE over the past three quarters and the trend is expected to continue throughout the year, according to Dubai-based Jacky’s Electronics.
Ashish Panjabi, the retailer’s chief operating officer, said they are expecting their sales figure to post a double-digit growth of about 15 per cent in 2011 as the retail sector benefit from renewed domestic consumer confidence, improved lending conditions and a relatively dynamic electronics industry. “We’ve definitely seen a better year from a sales point of view. One [indication] is the fact that [consumers] are buying more gadgets these days due to the multitude of options available in the market,” he said.
Heightened competition among major global brands such as Apple, Research in Motion (RIM), Samsung and Nokia, to name a few, has kept the mobile electronics industry bustling this year with new product launches at competitive pricing.
“Apple and RIM, for instance, release new iPhone and BlackBerry smartphones every 12-18 months and that kept people buying. The same goes with tablets. I think another major driver has been the finance [factor]. Banks have started offering [deferred payment options] at low interest rates, making it easier for consumers to shop and manage their credit,” he said.
Panjabi added that another trend they have noticed was the price squeeze in some product segments such as notebooks, which saw average selling cost plummeting by 25 per cent. “Many laptops are now sold at a range of Dh1,999 to Dh2,499 [$544 to $680]. Three years ago, our average selling price [for a laptop] was about Dh3,000. Thankfully, we’re able to sell larger volumes to compensate for the reduced price,” Panjabi said. Consumers’ taste and preference have likewise evolved over the years, thus influencing their buying habits, he added.
“Gone are the days when people buy a PC or a phone on the basis of technical specifications alone. Today it’s about the [product innovation] and user experience, how a product feels in your hand and the experience you can get out of it. I think this is one of the trends shaping the industry today,” he said.