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| 21 September, 2017

Why Gitex Shopper still makes sense

People attend the Gitex fair on its opening day in Dubai. GITEX is the largest information technology fair in the Middle East, held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

People attend the Gitex fair on its opening day in Dubai. GITEX is the largest information technology fair in the Middle East, held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

There are now two Gitex Shopper events during a year - the four-day spring edition and the full-length one

Deals weren't like they used to be. You'll get the same stuff in malls. It's sometimes even better during other mega sales events in Dubai.

So, why are we still looking forward to Gitex Shopper? Moreso, why does it continue to be packed and sales consistently go up year after year?

And in case you missed it, there are now two Gitex Shopper events during a year - the four-day spring edition and the full-length one that's upon us. So that only proves that there is, indeed, demand for the event.

And it's not like it's just some routine event that retailers are obliged to participate in; it's one carefully prepared for - some companies have told me before that they plan up to several months ahead - so it's not pushover thing.

Most flagships come after the spring edition

You know what we're talking about here: smartphones. The high-end, bragging-rights-are-yours types.

Consider what we've become accustomed to in recent years: Apple launches the new iPhone in the second week of September; Samsung has its Unpacked event for the Note in August; and the IFA in Berlin is held at the start of September, in which the likes of Sony Mobile and LG - even BlackBerry - unveil their next-generation mobiles.

The common denominator? They all occur before the bigger of the Gitex Shopper events.

And it even actually works both ways: before the spring edition of Gitex Shopper in April, the Mobile World Congress happens in Barcelona in February, and regular partipants such as Samsung, Sony Mobile and HTC - this year, even Nokia was around - have something up their tech sleeves.

And even though some of these unveiled flagships may not make it to the Dubai event - Huawei, for one, is slated to launch their own high-end product next month - there's still that thought that, okay, I'm not rooting for this brand that's at Gitex, but, hey, let's see if some deal can convince me to switch my loyalty.

It creates intrigue

You're too timid to hop over to the Dubai World Trade Centre because of some or all of the reasons we've stated above. Nah, you think.

But, what if you find a really good deal? Or win a prize just by being there? Or find something that (a) you've been looking for that you never expected to be there, or (b) discover something really unique and amazing? (Fact: for the unintiated, Gitex Shopper doesn't just feature the big guns; there are other less-heralded firms and brands nestled somewhere - usually in the far corners of the venue - just waiting to be discovered by you.)

I got a drone from a virtual unknown once upon a time for a great price - and I'm more than happy with it to this day.

In short, you may not have that peace of mind unless you go there; the classic you'll-never-know-until-you-try thingy.

Lady luck just might smile on you

Speaking of winning something, here's a little tale: some years ago, a colleague came to the office giddy with joy, brandishing a then-spanking-new Galaxy Note 4.

And how did he get it? He won it, and not because he purchased some oversized top-end TV or multiple items amounting to tens of thousands of dirhams. He just bought some computer accessory for a little over Dh100; anyone who bought anything - anything - from that retailer was entitled to join their raffle.

Boom. Congratulations. Enjoy your new device, sir!

I clearly remember one other thing after he told us about his fortune: everyone who heard about it at the office at that time was planning to leave early to take their own shot at Gitex Shopper luck (though it didn't exactly pan out the way they wished it to be).

It shows passion

The UAE, and Dubai in particular, is a place where tech is highly-regarded - and it's evident in the way brands have made it their hub or a springboard for launches, simultaneous with other major cities across the globe.

While everyone at Gitex Shopper can be considered bargain-hunters, you'll still see all kinds of folks roaming through its venue: dedicated ones looking for the best offer, casual this-deal-is-good-enough-for-me types, persons who practically pull out their hair out of indecision. I know one person who, some years ago, made it a point to go to the event every single day just so this someone won't miss offers and compare them to each other (after paying the entrance fee for several days, said person eventually gave in during the penultimate day).

It's a spectacle to watch; I've only missed one Gitex Shopper during my entire stint with Khaleej Times, and in the rest of the times I was there, to a certain extent, it's adorable to watch everyone. It makes you feel that we are all united in keeping abreast with tech in one way or another.

Whatever type you see - or you are - it proves one thing: Gitex Shopper is as serious as it can get - especially for us who love tech, and even more for those who absolutely won't want to be left behind when it comes to possessing the best devices. For a good deal, of course.

Still think it doesn't make sense anymore?

- alvin@khaleejtimes.com

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