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Wearables not yet stocked by 40% of CE retailers in MENA

DISTREE survey reveals that MENA retailers will increase focus on wearable tech

Wearables not yet stocked by 40% of CE retailers in MENA
DISTREE ME says 67% of retailers and e-tailers polled in MENA region already stock wearables and smartwatches.

DISTREE Middle East has revealed that more than 40% of major technology and consumer electronics retailers and e-tailers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are not yet stocking wearable technology.

DISTREE Middle East said the key finding follows a survey it carried out earlier this month, collected responses from senior executives at 57 of the region’s top retailers and e-tailers.

Liam McSherry, marketing director at DISTREE Events, said: “Of the retailers and e-tailers not yet stocking wearables, two-thirds indicated that they wanted to immediately add products in this category, with the remaining third saying they hoped to expand their portfolio to include wearables within the next 12 months.”

For the MENA retailers and e-tailers already stocking wearables, smartwatches was the most popular segment with 67% indicating that they were currently stocking these products. This was followed by audio-related wearables stocked by 54% of retailers polled, with fitness and health-related products carried by 50% of retailers already active in the wearables segment.

Retailers across the region claimed that consumer interest in wearables is growing rapidly, with an increasing emphasis on product differentiation and brand awareness. With significant consumer spending power in some Middle East markets, wearables is viewed by many as a fast-growing and high margin product category for 2014 and beyond.

DISTREE Middle East said the survey showed that 78% of all retailers questioned were interested in adding new smartwatch brands to their product line-up, with 58% keen on increasing their range of fitness and health-related wearables. Half of the retailers taking part in the survey expressed an interest in working with brands active in the smartglasses space.

“Awareness of wearables brands remains severely limited in the Middle East retail channel,” added McSherry. “With the exception of Pebble in the smartwatch category and Fitbit in fitness devices - which both achieved 40% brand recognition among retailers - other wearables brands are just not widely known in the MENA retail channel. Retailers from across the region are keen to meet more wearables vendors to understand how they can work together to drive the growth of this exciting new product category.”

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