Looking for deals at Gitex Shopper? Better look somewhere else [IMHO]
It’s that depressing time of year again, when the price-hunting population of Dubai brave the still sweltering sun and hour-long traffic jams to pack themselves into a massive conference center in the middle of Dubai. It’s called Gitex, and it’s the worst time to be a gadget lover.
I still remember when Gitex was about showing off new gadgets and the region’s best technology. It was supposed to rival the gadget extravaganza that is CES in Las Vegas, MWC in Barcelona and IFA in Berlin. A conference where all the big boys in tech would launch new products in an attempt to wow the crowds, who would flock back each year to be astounded and amazed.
Four years ago Sony showed off a projector that seemingly rivaled the IMAX in screen real estate. Samsung had a three story stand made up entirely of LCD screens. And HP flew in all its bigwigs and held a legendary party at Cavalli Club that lasted until 4 in the morning to celebrate its latest laptops. Product managers were dancing on tables, that’s how epic it was.
But as the years flew by, more and more of the big names in tech dropped out. I think Sony went first, followed by Samsung, Canon, LG and more. Panasonic held on the longest, a lone tech giant amidst a thousand stands of iThing rip-offs and plasticky tablets from Shenzhen. But even it eventually turned its back on the event. And that’s when it happened…
Enter Gitex Shopper. Deals! Deals! Deals!
People forgot that Gitex used to be a thriving, interesting trade show. The crowds of gadget lovers were replaced with throngs of price-hungry masses, drooling at the thought of finding a Nikon camera with a 10 per cent off sticker.
Retailers responded to this lust for cut-price tech, using it to sell off all their old stock. “Buying a TV? Here, have a five-year-old point-and-shoot for free” “Want a new mobile phone? Also win the USB-powered desk fan you’ve always dreamed of”.
You see, Gitex isn’t about giving you gadgets for less. It’s about retailers ditching stock before that all-important holiday season, when they will fill their shelves with shiny new technology (with the gadgets you really want) and try and flog it to you all over again.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love all things that are shiny and go beep. And if you don’t mind spending your hard earned cash on an outdated TV (just as long as it comes with a free camera from two years ago though, eh?) it’s a great place to go bargain hunting. But when it comes to technology, you generally get what you pay for.
It’s why you won’t find deals on the iPhone 5, the HTC One X or the Samsung Galaxy S III. Three of the best (and still the manufacturer’s most recent) mobiles around. You also won’t find a bargain on the latest range of tellies that were unveiled in August, or the new breed of Windows 8-ready ultrabooks that you’ll be pining for come November. You may get a free light-up cup holder with your purchase, but don’t go expecting money off.
Now Gitex – the trade show – still exists. It’s full of IT consultants and server specialists who, while probably very good at fiddling with circuit boards, won’t have the crowds whooping in the back.
It’s a shame. Because Dubai really doesn’t need another cut-price laptop. After all, that’s what the Dubai Shopping Festival is for…
Tell a lie, you do get some free stuff at Gitex Shopper (Deals!). If you’re in the market for pamphlets, you are going to love it down at the trade center. Flyers advertising new daily deals, free gadgets (with the purchase of a Dhs5,000 TV) and brochures full of last-years tech with a big ‘SALE!’ sticker next to them.
And if you’re really lucky, or fill in a retailer’s question form giving them your mobile number, your address, your hopes, your dreams and your email (for spam purposes, natch) you may even get a free tote bag. So you can lug all your pamphlets around Gitex Shopper as you hunt for the latest ‘deals’. Or more pamphlets because, haven’t you heard, they’re free!