UAE, Saudi have amongst the highest smartphone penetration rates
Chris Sun Baigong Vice President of Huawei Honor in the Middle East, gives us his thoughts on the fast-moving smartphone market and changing consumer perception here in the Middle East.
As smartphones take over landlines, computers, cameras and provide on the go access to everything online and digital, they have become integrated into nearly every aspect of our lives and transformed the way we communicate and share information.
Yet, a recent IDC report indicates that smartphone growth is actually slowing down with Q1 figures in 2016 up only 0.6 per cent million units compared to Q1 in 2015 - a significant difference noticed in mature markets such as China and the US specifically.
This supposed 'slow down' is actually a real positive for the end-user, as maturing markets encourage smartphone vendors to think differently in terms of technology to open consumer minds further in terms of what they want from a device. The UAE and KSA have amongst the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world where the thirst for smartphones remains high - this is even better news for consumers here, who can benefit from the global technological advancements while demand for new technology is still high.
When was the last time you actually questioned what smartphone you are using and what it could do better for the money you have paid?
At honor, we see the maturing of the market as a huge opportunity for the company to challenge itself and innovate even further to both meet and exceed consumer expectations. The mid-range phone market is a prime example of how the change in consumer behaviour is impacting what is on offer. Gone are the days when purchasing the latest smartphone with cutting edge technology will break the bank.
We recently launched the honor 5X for example, which is jam packed with high spec features, including very special multi-functional fingerprint sensor, never seen before in that price category. This is a very exciting time for consumers, as technology is becoming far more accessible to them and with huge value adds. We consider our premium devices as meeting and exceeding consumer expectation in terms of the usability, functionality, design and technology, but accessible at a price level normally associated with mid-range phones. And again, with our entry-level priced phones, consumers are surprised with the specs and features they now have access to that was normally beyond their reach. We focus on both micro improvements such as our additional camera features and bonus specs, as well as macro improvements such as the price point, high MP cameras and fingerprint technology.
At honor, we see opportunity for the smartphone market in both the premium devices and also the entry-level to mid-range category. We do this by focusing on the lifestyle needs and behaviour of our end-user and understanding where we can get them to question what to expect from their device through surprise and delight. Growth and development will continue and will happen very quickly as and when it does, as we believe successful innovation occurs when connecting the people with the technology being developed in order to meet those fundamental needs. honor's approach is designed to get closer to our consumers with a factory to consumer business model, which allows us to negate bricks and mortar stores and offer our devices more accessibly.
This attitude towards the end-user is part of our ethos at Huawei and honor, which is why we now see Huawei at No 3 position worldwide in Q1 2016, as the company experienced 58.4 per cent growth. With honor growing at 100 per cent year on year, we know that we are contributing significantly to the overall Huawei picture.
With four successfully launched devices under our belts at honor in less than a year, the question is- what is next? We can't wait to reveal our next show-stopper in Q3, which will again challenge our end-users to question what their current phone can do, and offer a device with far more value.