Sales of mobile phones in the UAE jumped in the third quarter of 2020, with Chinese company Xiaomi emerging among the top three brands, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).
Data showed that one million smartphones were shipped into the UAE in the third quarter versus 0.94 million in the second, when the country undergoing movement and travel restrictions in order to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. This was an increase of 6.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter. The top-selling brands were Samsung, Xiaomi and Huawei.
“With the opening of retail channels in Q3 2020 after the ease of lockdowns and Covid-19 measures that took place in Q2, the pent-up demand drove the performance of the market upwards in third-quarter. This is coupled with healthy performance of Samsung and Xiaomi, the brands that matched the pent-up demand with a balanced level of price and appropriate feature set,” the IDC said in a statement to Khaleej Times.
Q4 also looks bright
Data showed that the UAE, the GCC’s second-largest market, saw its share of smartphone shipments increase to 24.1 per cent in the region. The overall mobile phone market of the GCC experienced a slight quarter-on-quarter decline of 0.2 per cent in the third quarter to total 4.97 million.
Saudi Arabia accounted for 52.6 per cent of all smartphones shipped within the GCC region. However, the kingdom suffered an overall quarterly decline in shipments due to the tripling of VAT, which led to an increase in prices.
Meanwhile, Samsung extended its lead in the GCC smartphone market, accounting for a 44.6 per cent share. In terms of value, it ranked second with 30.8 per cent.
“With its large portfolio of models in the entry-level and mid-range price bands, Samsung not only maintained its leading position but also captured share lost by Huawei,” says Akash Balachandran, a senior research analyst at IDC. “The demand for low-end smartphones continues to remain strong as customers look for value and the channel remains cautious when it comes to stocking premium and ultra-premium devices.”
“Despite the ever-looming possibility of additional lockdowns and spikes in Covid-19 cases, an improvement in the market’s performance is expected toward the end of the year, particularly as countries begin to normalise travel and further positive news of a Covid-19 vaccine is released. Brands like Apple and Samsung will also post a strong performance in the upcoming quarters with newly released models in their portfolios. Chinese vendors, focused on driving penetration in the region, will continue their marketing investments, all of which will translate into a well-performing market in the short to mid-term,” he added.
Looking ahead, Ramazan Yavuz, a senior research manager at IDC, says the GCC smartphone market is forecast to see quarter-on-quarter unit growth of 6.5 per cent in Q4 2020.
“Q4 has traditionally been a strong quarter for the GCC smartphone market,” he added.
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