Television sales increased up to 35 percent last week ahead of the Fifa Euro 2012 football tournament that began on Friday to kick off a long summer of sport.
The Netherland's defeat by Denmark on Saturday might have been the shock result of the tournament so far, but retailers say strong TV sales are no surprise given the exciting summer of sport ahead.
"We are seeing a 35 percent increase in terms of quantity of TVs [sold]," said Omar Abushaban, head of sales and operations at Plug-Ins Electronix. "[Euro 2012] has had an impact, but to what degree is hard to know."
In the week running up to the tournament, Plug-Ins sold 35 percent more TVs than the same week last year. That translated to a 10 percent increase in sales because the prices of televisions had fallen in the past year, Mr. Abushaban said. "I think we will really get an idea at the end of the week because the matches only kicked off on [June] 8," he added.
Nilesh Khalkho, the chief executive at Sharaf DG, said his stores had "definitely" increased sales running up to Euro 2012. "In the last two to three weeks, we have seen a 12 percent jump in sales," he said, comparing figures with the same period last year. "We are expecting the brands to also come out with some offers before the Olympics and a lot of marketing coming up."
Jacky's Electronics said it had not yet experienced a "major" jump in sales but expected to have good summer on the back of Euro 2012, the Olympics in London and the Dubai Summer Surprises shopping festival.
"We expect that with the UAE team qualifying for the Olympics football tournament, interest in the Olympics within the region should be higher than we've normally seen," said Ashish Panjabi, the chief operating officer at Jacky's. "I think you should start to see that people look at upgrading," he added. "You want to invite your friends round to watch the game and you do not want it on an old fashioned TV."
During the summer period, Jacky's is offering extended warranties and improved financing packages to entice people to buy. Customers can buy at 0 percent interest through Emirates NBD, for up to 12 months, and up to six months for cardholders of ADCB, Barclays, Citibank, HSBC, Mashreq, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Standard Chartered. "The Olympics has never been a major event but this time you will have a lot more interest," said Mr. Panjabi.
Retailers added that the prices of LED televisions had come down significantly in the past 12 months as the prices of 3D and smart televisions have become more affordable.
LCD televisions were previously the biggest sellers, but have now been overtaken by those with LED technology because the picture is brighter, the screens thinner and the prices not too dissimilar to LCD.
At Jacky's, both a 19-inch LEDs and LCDs start at Dh499 (US$135.84), and for a 32-inch television the prices are Dh999 and Dh799, respectively.
Mr. Abushaban said LED television sales now made up about 60 percent of total television sales. "The prices have crashed this year compared to last," he said.
Electronics retailers have not been the only parties planning to cash in on sport this summer. Hotels across the country have been erecting air-conditioned marquees specifically for Euro 2012 and offering a range of food and beverage promotions. Euro 2012 ends on July 1, while the London Olympics begins on July 27 and ends on August 12.
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