“We are increasing the range (of items) and also have a dedicated area for IoT and smart devices at LuLu stores,” LuLu Group International regional manager Shanavas PM told Gulf Times.
He said an array of these devices such as smart speakers (with Alexa), security cameras, and smart home appliances – from air-conditioning units to washing machines and television sets – are among the bestsellers since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis last year.
Other items in high demand also include smart (weight) scale, routers, pocket WiFi, wireless and bluetooth speakers, air purifiers, and smart refrigerators.
This is in addition to the ‘records sales’ in laptops and tablets last year, witnessed by major hypermarkets and stores in the country. Many employees were asked to work from home while students had to attend online classes as part of the precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
According to Shanavas PM, another reason for this demand surge is because of people – especially millennials and the young generation who grew up using smart/digital devices and the internet – who have keen interest and high expectations on what 5G or fifth-generation connectivity can offer.
Besides faster and better connectivity for mobile phones, he said users also expect 5G’s reliable network coverage, safety and security, and its capacity to connect home appliances and other devices for efficiency.
An employee of another retail outlet for smart devices said they also received huge orders of IoT and smart devices last year.
“A lot of customers bought such items, including routers, external hard drives, smart speakers, latest mobile devices, and air pods, among others. We always ran out of stocks so many have opted ordering from other shops in Doha or thru online. There is really a big demand,” he pointed out, adding that most customers prefer branded products, which at some point were not available at their store.
“In most cases, a customer who didn’t find the item he/she was looking for would order at least one product. An ‘extremely popular brand’ for mobile phones and other mobile devices (such as laptops, tablets) has been consistently in high demand for students who had to attend online classes,” he said.
It is learnt that the Covid-19 pandemic also boosted sales of PC gaming equipment and accessories in the country such as keyboards, microphones, gaming chairs, and headsets, among others.