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UAE retailers distance themselves from Apple Watch grey imports

Consumers will have to wait for official Middle East launch, say authorised Apple resellers

Emax's Bhatnagar says the company will not grey import the new Apple Watch despite the huge interest from consumers encouraging it to do so.
Emax's Bhatnagar says the company will not grey import the new Apple Watch despite the huge interest from consumers encouraging it to do so.

Authorised Apple resellers in the UAE have revealed that they will not grey import the newly launched Apple Watch, despite receiving a lot of requests from consumers across the region.

In a vox pop with Channel Middle East, UAE-based retailers spoken to emphasised that while they understand the huge interest from consumers that want to buy the Cupertino wearable, bringing it in the country via parallel channels before the official launch would be endorsing the grey market.

Nadeem Khanzadah, head, OmniChannel Retail, Jumbo Group, an authorised Apple reseller, said Jumbo Electronics will not stock the new Apple Watch before the official launch despite customers sending requests wanting to find out when the new wearable would be available.

Khanzadah said at the moment, Jumbo has not received any other information regarding the launch dates from Apple. "We have a direct relationship with Apple and we don't want to jeopardise that by bringing in the new watch through parallel imports. We don't have any information either on which stores in the UAE will be allowed to stock the wearable range once these products are officially introduced," he said.


Khanzadah said while Jumbo would like to bring the new wearable range soon, it will not risk the alliance it has with Apple. "I feel for our customers but they just have to wait until Apple officially unveils the watch array in the UAE and rest of the Middle East," he said.

Jumbo Electronics and Sharaf DG are two power retailers in the UAE that have a direct relationship with Apple Ireland.

At another power retailer Emax, Neelesh Bhatnagar, CEO, said the company has not brought in the new Apple Watch from other channels despite numerous inquiries from regional customers because that would be promoting the parallel imports segment.

Bhatnagar acknowledged the challenge consumer electronics retailers face in the region especially that online rivals are already offering the new Apple Watch at inflated prices. "Grey market thrives because of delays in launching a product in one region or market. The pressure from e-tailers and other online stores means that outlets such as ourselves are left pondering as to whether it's prudent to give in to the consumer demands," he said. "The mark-up on grey imported Apple Watch range currently being sold by online retailers in the UAE is ridiculously mindboggling."

He added that not having the exact dates when the Apple Watch will officially launch in the UAE and the rest of the Middle East has not helped matters. "We are not going to bring the new wearable from parallel channels. Instead, we have adopted a cautious approach and are waiting to see what Apple will do for its authorised resellers in the region," he said.

Earlier this week UAE online retailer JadoPado displayed an Apple Watch 38mm Stainless Steel Case with Black Classic Buckle model for AED7,499.00 ($2,040). The same model in the US sells for $649, meaning JadoPado is charging a mark-up of 214%.