While the latest edition of Gitex Shopper is witnessing an unusual crowd, in tandem with rising consumer confidence, sales at various television pavilions continued to flicker as Indian tourists and NRIs, major buyers of flat panels in Dubai, kept off.
This is the fallout of New Delhi pulling the plug on their duty-free allowance.
According to market insiders, Indian expats and tourists account for 20 to 25 per cent of TV sales in Dubai.
Most executives and salespersons Khaleej Times spoke to at Gitex Shopper 2013 said sales of flat-screen television sets, a top seller at the previous exhibitions, had been hit hard by the Indian government’s decision to impose a 36 per cent duty on flat-screen television sets brought back by travellers from other countries.
Indian passengers last year took home more than a million television sets from other countries, taking advantage of the baggage allowance. Ashish Punjabi, chief operating officer of Jacky’s Group of Companies, said his initial estimate was his retail would see a 20 per cent drop in unit sales.
Punjabi expected unit sales to be impacted by about 30 per cent during Gitex Shopper.
However, most salespersons said they were optimistic about the final sales figures as there was a new trend among residents to go for big-ticket entertainment items.
“In terms of revenue for the category, we shouldn’t be affected as we’ve seen a trend among local consumers to move towards 55” and 60” LED TVs which are of higher value,” Punjabi explained.
A Harman House promoter said though flat-panel sales were down around 30 per cent due to the Indian levy, there was a silver lining.
“The consolation is Indian buyers are now taking bigger sets because that’s a very expensive segment in their home country. So the bigger the TV, the bigger the margin in India,” he said.