Dome Exhibitions wants to compete with Dubai's biannual Gitex Shopper. Jaime Puebla / The National
Dome Exhibitions wants to compete with Dubai's biannual Gitex Shopper. Jaime Puebla / The National

Abu Dhabi sparks up competition for UAE electronics market

Consumers in the capital will have a chance to get their hands on discounted electronics in March as Dome Exhibitions prepares to launch the Abu Dhabi Electronics Shopper (ADES).

The event will be held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from March 14-18. But it faces stiff competition from the first of the now biannual Gitex Shopper events of the year.

The organiser, Dome Exhibitions, expects 50,000 to 75,000 visitors to the five-day event, and is estimating total retail sales of Dh50 million (US$13.6m) to Dh80m. But retailers are divided on whether to attend both the Abu Dhabi event and the highly anticipated Gitex Shopper show in Dubai between April 3-6.

Jacky's Electronics, one of the largest retailers in the country, has decided to forgo ADES and instead focus on Gitex Shopper.

"We are not taking part," said Ashish Panjabi, the chief operating officer at Jacky's. "Two new events within a window of two weeks is asking too much logistically."

Gitex Shopper has historically marked big revenues for electronics retailers. Last year popular gadgets such as the iPad contributed to a 23 per cent increase in sales to Dh237m, according to its organiser.

Some retailers admit that the high cost of exhibiting at events such as Gitex Shopper puts a dent in profits. The Dubai event, which used to take place once a year, will be held twice this year under a royal decree.

Sharaf DG is the only major retailer so far to have confirmed its participation in the Abu Dhabi event.

"We have been opening new stores in Abu Dhabi and these events are good and will help the industry," said Nilesh Khalkho, the chief executive officer of Sharaf DG.

Other major chains such as Emax and Jumbo are still in talks over whether to attend the show.

"We are currently 50-50 right now, trying to handle two events in such a short period of time, and whether vendors can support the demand levels are making us hold back our decision," said Neelesh Bhatnagar, the chief executive officer of Emax. Still, Dome Exhibitions says it has secured enough of the smaller retailers to ensure that all major brands are represented.

"This is not a regional or country show, we are targeting the people living in Abu Dhabi," said Antoine Georges, the director of Dome Exhibitions.

"We have the support of the Chamber of Commerce and the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Company and if we make this buzz, next year it will be a much better show."

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