Saudi retailer sees boost from iPhones after third-quarter surge
INTERNATIONAL - United Electronics Co.’s third-quarter profit doubled as consumers spent more on electronics amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the Saudi Arabian retailer said Apple Inc.’s new iPhone could be a potential “breakthrough” later in the year.
Apple’s biggest product launch event of the year will be held Oct. 13. The company plans to reveal four redesigned iPhones with 5G wireless capability, upgraded cameras, faster processors and a wider range of screen sizes, Bloomberg News has reported.
“That is a very important launch,” United Electronics Chief Executive Officer Mohammed Galal Fahmi said in an interview with Bloomberg TV, adding that the new phones would be a “good boost” for the fourth quarter.
The introduction of the new iPhones is occurring about a month later than usual following final testing and production delays due to the pandemic.
United Electronics, also known as Extra, reported revenue of 1.23 billion riyals ($328 million) for the third quarter, up 18% from the same period last year. Profit rose 96%.
The reallocation of consumers’ money from travel and entertainment to electronics retail “was a pleasantly surprising factor,” the CEO said. The company was expecting “softer” months due to higher value-added tax in the kingdom.
The CEO also said:
- Extra is expanding and investing more in e-commerce platforms.
- The company didn’t dismiss employees during the lockdown as it expanded certain parts of the business such as online and consumer financing.
- The consumer trend is up in Saudi Arabia. “The challenge will be where they’re going to finance” electronics purchases.
- “Saudi consumers are going to have a shift and develop new habits of financing their purchases in the future.”