The first annual Abu Dhabi Electronic Shopper event was held March 14-18, 2013 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC). This event was dubbed the “must attend” gathering for tech enthusiasts and those looking to find can’t beat deals on electronics. Advertisements for the event boasted about things like tons of vendors, steep discounts and cutting edge technology at your fingertips. I was eager to attend and excited to see what new gadget I could snag for myself. Turns out, my excitement was in vain. The shopper was okay but I was underwhelmed.
Let’s start with the venue. ADNEC is a very nice and new exhibition center. It’s so new that the parking structure is still under construction. There were parking attendants at the entry points guiding cars through pathways made up of cones and caution tape to enter the parking deck. Once inside the building, I found the open air concept and geometric posters stretching from the sky scraping ceilings to be impressive. The space was huge and able to accommodate multiple events at the same time. In fact, the fine jewelry and luxury gifts show was going on concurrently.
The facility hosted a good variety of satellite restaurants. There was a Subway cart, Krispy Kreme, Lebanese take-out and a frozen yogurt Mercedes van to name a few. Beware though. You will be charged event rates for otherwise well priced food. For example, I attempted to treat myself to a single, glazed donut but I saw that the price was 7 AED as opposed to the normal price of 4 AED. The best way to market these products is media exposure, learn more about radio and satellite tour here
The event. There were some recognizable vendors there. Plug Ins, who I believe to have been an event sponsor was one. There was also Emax, Canon, HP, Intel, Scandisk and a slew of other lesser knowns. The event itself was small compared to similar exhibits I’ve attended. I walked the perimeter of the entire room while pushing a stroller in about 7 minutes flat. There was plenty of merchandise to look at and all of the vendors did their very best to pull you in.
Here are my highlights…
Not much for Mac lovers. There was one vendor in the mix with over priced MacBooks. Several others gave discounts on apple accessories. Other than that there was nothing o make Mac enthusiasts part with their money.
No real “deals”. My definition of a deal is getting more value than money spent on item(s) you INTEND to purchase. The deals offered at this event required the same outlay of cash and threw in additional items. For example, a deal would be to buy a canon PowerShot at regular price and get a free carry case. Pardon me, but that is not saving me money, I may even have to get loans in order to buy ity.
Free entry controversy. The advertised ticket price was 25 AED. However, there were printed shopping guides at the venue. On the back, there was a ticket with all of the following verbiage: Admit One, Your Free Admission, and dates. Everyone grabbed a catalog and tore the ticket out. When we presented them to the staff working the entrance we were told that the ticket printed on the back of the catalog was a sample ticket. Huh!?! It didn’t say “sample” anywhere. They should hire check printing and mailing services for their printing. Was this a printing mistake that they did not honor?
No new technology. The newest gadgets on display were the Blackberry Z10 (about 2 months old now), the iPhone 5 (about 3 months old now in the UAE) and the Samsung Galaxy camera. I heard that the largest TV in the world was on display there. I guess it didn’t make much of an impact on me.
This was the first event of its kind for Abu Dhabi. As with most things it will likely get better as it matures. I do know two different people who made purchases at the shopper event. They were both happy; one bought a tablet and the other bought a camera. (Cameras seemed to dominate the inventory there.) If cutting edge technology and the next, new gadgets are what tickles your fancy, perhaps the GITEX Shopper event that takes place twice a year in Dubai will satisfy you.
Click here to see more pictures from the shopper event on my Facebook page.