Gitex Shopper’s top draw? D-uh! The smartwatch, innit?

Apple Watch Hermes
Retailers are hoping smartwatches will sell big this Gitex Shopper Spring

Are you set for the summer of smartwatches? Wearables, not smartphones, will be the biggest thing at this weekend’s Gitex Shopper Spring – and consequently over the summer. That’s what Jumbo’s predicting, at any rate.

Nadeem Khanzadah, Head – OmniChannel Retail, Jumbo Group, says the company is gearing up to handle a major surge from a tech-savvy public whose hunger for the latest and most innovative technology shows no sign of abating.

Gitex Shopper Spring 2016 and Shopper Smart Living begin tomorrow at the World Trade Centre in Dubai and will run until April 2. The event, featuring electronic appliances and consumer-tech products, will also host raffle draws and competitions, with a huge pot of prizes to be won. Other electronics retailers such as EMAX, Jacky’s Electronics, Plug Ins and Sharaf DG, will put new gadgets on sale, supported by global brands eager to make a killing in a slowing global economy.

The event is the one of the most important retail seasons for retailers. Last year at Gitex Shopper, Jumbo saw a 15 per cent increase in sales compared to 2014.

“Despite the slowed global economic environment, in the region, we expect to maintain momentum in the sector during this season,” says Khanzadah. “We are already seeing a real appetite for smartwatches and wearable technology that is being strongly driven by constantly improving compatibility with other mobile computing devices, ease of use, fitness-focus, aesthetic design and some high-profile collaborations such as Apple Watch Hermès.

“There is an increasing demand for sleeker, smarter wearable technology among tech-savvy consumers that companies like Apple, Samsung and Huawei are successfully catering to,” he adds.

According to market intelligence firm IDC, smartwatches shipped worldwide is expected to reach a total of 34.3 million units in 2016, and forecasted to reach 88.3million units by 2019.

This edition of Gitex follows a number of high-profile smartphone launches in recent months including the Apple 6s, Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge and LG G5 and these will be very popular at the show. Given the typical short replacement cycle of smartphones in the Middle East and the demand for high-specs and value for money, mid-range devices are also expected to be a top-selling category.