UAE retailers struggle to meet Samsung S4 demand

Electronics store says users increasingly ditching iPhone, BlackBerry to move to new Galaxy device

Samsung's new Galaxy S4. (AFP/Getty Images)

Samsung's new Galaxy S4. (AFP/Getty Images)

Electronics retailers in the UAE are struggling to keep up with demand following the release of the hotly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone.

The high-tech handset, which hit stores this week, boasts a five-inch touch screen, a 13 MP camera, as well as allowing users to control the device using just their eyes. It retails for about AED2,499.

“There’s been a lot more demand than supply, to put it in short. We knew the allocations would be tight in the beginning and it’s only really with Apple products in the past that you’ve seen such a craze when there’s a new product launch,” Ashish Panjabi, COO of retailer Jacky’s Electronics told Arabian Business via phone.

Panjabi said that Jacky’s network of stores across the UAE was still in the process of honouring pre-orders for the smartphone. He said he expected the situation to improve on May 12 when the retail receives a shipment of the upgraded, 4G edition of the handset. “The assurance we’ve had is that there will be a lot of supply coming in,” he added.

Panjabi said that many customers appeared to be ditching rival handsets such as the BlackBerry and Apple iPhone to move to the new Galaxy device, which Korea-based Samsung has spent heavily on marketing worldwide.

“You have some people who are looking at moving from one platform to another, and a lot of people have been seeing this as an opportunity for that to happen,” he said. “So a typical BlackBerry is weighing up options – do I go to BB10 or do I look at other options.”

According to statistics from technology market watcher IDC, Samsung was the world’s top smartphone vender in 1Q2013 with a 32.7 percent market share, followed by Apple, with 17.3 percent of the market.

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