.

1- ISPS: UNETHICAL COMPETITION
2- RS 13 BILLION FUNDING FOR KESC
3- 'LIFESTYLES' AT WHAT COST?
4- KSE - BEST IN YEAR 2002

.

CONSUMER FINANCE
'LIFESTYLES' AT WHAT COST?

 

The lifestyle which is yet to take shape for common consumers.

 

By M.K. AREOLA
Jan 06 - 12, 2003
.

 

 

The teenagers came into their newly rented apartment and hang the television on the wall before they settle down to watch their favourite programme. This is one of several advertisements made worldwide to project the latest television set in the market. Rashid, another teenager, living in Karachi has been watching this advertisement for over a year and believed that this is just an advertisement gimmick, how could a TV set with such a large screen be hung on the wall? The reality of this TV became clear to him last week, when he went with his family to the "Lifestyles" exhibition in Karachi, where the same television set was on display for sale.

'All about Lifestyles' a three-day exhibition that was organized at the Karachi Expo-Centre last week, which attracted a large number of visitors from the entertainment starved Karachites. The objective of the exhibition, as the name itself suggested, was to introduce the latest products of everyday life.

The three-day event was the third in the series of exhibitions organized by one of Karachi's leading dailies - Dawn, the first one was held earlier in Lahore for two days followed by another two days event in Islamabad.

Most of the participating companies include consumer electronics, IT related services and products, bank and financial services sector, travel sector, internet service providers, cellular phone companies, automobile and insurance sector as well as fashion, cosmetics and consumer items.

Some of the products were represented by more than one stall out of the 106 stalls that were set up for the purpose while some important consumer items were completely missing from the event Even prominent publishers and their agents were also missing.

Spider, Dawn's monthly magazine on internet had one stall in each of the three halls and so was Nokia represented by three different agents. Among electronic appliances manufacturers LG's stall was dominant and attracted large crowd but most of the visitors left the place with dreams only, due to very high prices of their items on display.

 

 

Staff of Habib Bank, Citibank and Askari Commercial Bank were at hand to guide consumers through to avail their auto loans, while House Building Finance Corporation (HBFC) was there with its newly re-launched 'Ghar Aasan' scheme.

Pakistan Post Office was not left behind in offering attractive gift schemes to visitors while 'Guard' rice offered half a kilogram on every five kilograms purchased from its stall. While TCS, the country's leading courier service introduced different prizes to visitors to its stall, which include a return ticket to Dubai.

CONSUMER'S INTEREST

Though the organizers tried their best to introduce the latest items in the market, but that too without taking into consideration the buying power of the majority of the visitors to the exhibition. LG's most attractive product at the exhibition, the Flatron Plasma was tagged Rupees 1.23 million for its 60 inches version, while the 42 inches edition cost Rs. 0.55 million. Likewise one of the companies with food-stuff offered its imported cooking oil for Rs. 347 per litter, completely beyond the reach of majority of the visitors to the exhibition. Likewise, none of the three stalls offering Nokia products has any set for AMPS.

The security aspect of the exhibition was well taken care of by the organizers, without been harassed by private uniformed men in the name of security inside the three exhibition halls. Particularly when the visitors are families, mostly from the middle income bracket, at this time when people would rather prefer to stay at home than venture into public places due to security reasons

While the efforts on the part of the organizers are commendable there is still much left out in terms of the items as well as the price tag being offered to consumers' majority of whom are from middle income bracket.