The smartphone race heated up ahead of Gitex Shopper 2013, which opens its doors today for the second time this year.
All the leading brands launched their flagship smartphones before the start of the Middle East's largest and most anticipated consumer IT and electronics show offering record-breaking bargain deals on gadgets that include tablets, laptops, LED Smart TVs and digital SLR cameras, among others.
The eight-day electronics extravaganza at the Dubai World Trade Centre will offer more than 30,000 products to tech-savvy shoppers in the UAE. The retailers expect smartphones along with wearable gadgets to steal the show while demand is also strong for Smart TVs, low-cost tablets, laptops, storage devices, gaming, fitness and health devices.
"There is nothing that compares to Gitex Shopper, from the most famous brands in the world and the latest technology products, to an unbelievable choice all in one convenient location," said Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice-president, Dubai World Trade Centre, organiser of Gitex Shopper 2013.
Technology giants like Samsung, BlackBerry, Nokia, HTC and LG launched their flagship smartphones with commercial availability in the market. As Apple's iPhone 5S and 5C has not been launched officially in the UAE so Samsung Note 3 and Galaxy Gear, HTC One Mini, Nokia Lumia 1020, LG G2 and BlackBerry Z30 will take the centre stage during the show. The participating retailers are expecting these new products to become huge crowd-pullers that will translate into better sales than last year.
"Over the years, the UAE has become among the first markets to receive the latest products from major technology brands," said Ashish Panjabi, COO of Jack's Electronics. "This shows how important this region is to their overall strategic plan," he added.
According to latest research from International Data Corporation (IDC), smatphones now account for nearly two out of every five phones in the Middle East and their volume rose 16.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2013 compared to similar period last year. It outlined that more smartphones are forecast to be shipped globally than feature phones this year. It will be the first time that smartphones will overtake feature phones as vendors are expected to ship 918.6 million smartphones this year, representing about 50.01 per cent of the total mobile shipments worldwide.
"As the smartphone markets of the developed world become saturated, the Middle East is becoming more important to handset makers as it encompasses countries with high disposable incomes and a hunger for the latest mobile technologies. As such, we expect to see vendors increasing their marketing activities in the region and expanding distribution," said Simon Baker, programme manager for mobile handsets at IDC CEMA, in a recent note.
A recent study by Google found that the smartphone penetration in the UAE is 73.8 per cent, highest rate in the world. This gives the technology giants a solid reason to focus on the UAE market and Gitex Shopper provides an ideal platform to showcase and launch their flagship products to attract tech-savvy locals and residents alike.