Smartphone market to top 155m units in MEA this year

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Smartphone market to top 155m units in MEA this year
The growth in smartphones in the Middle East and Africa region is being spurred by Google's Android and Apple's iOS.

Dubai - Growth spurred by emergence of low-priced Android devices.

By Staff Report

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Published: Mon 13 Jul 2015, 5:54 PM

Smartphone shipments in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) are set to total 155 million units in 2015 after increasing 66 per cent year-on-year during the first quarter to reach more than 36 million units, according to the latest figures announced on Sunday by the International Data Corporation, or IDC.
The company's 'Q1 2015 Mobile Phone Tracker' report shows that smartphones accounted for 63 per cent of handsets shipped in the Middle East during the quarter and 47 per cent in Africa. This comes at the expense of feature phones, which suffered year-on-year declines of around 20 per cent in both regions and will make up just 27 per cent of the overall MEA handset market by the end of 2019.
The growth in smartphones in the MEA region is being spurred by Google's Android and Apple's iOS, with the two platforms accounting for over 95 per cent of smartphones shipped in the first quarter. Shipments of devices featuring these operating systems increased by a combined 67 per cent year-on-year.
In the Middle East, Android currently represents 80 per cent of the market's volume, while iOS accounts for 17 per cent; in Africa, these figures stand at 89 per cent and seven per cent respectively. Android is particularly dominant in the low to mid-priced bands, while iOS is mainly found in the $450-plus price category.
BlackBerry once again suffered significant year-on-year declines across the region in the first quarter, with the vendor's shipments falling 14 per cent in Africa and 29 per cent in the Middle East.
"The launch of a number of new models by the vendor seems to have had little impact on lifting the BlackBerry brand out of its continuing decline," said Isaac T. Ngatia, senior research analyst at IDC. "The loss of the corporate segment, spurred by the continued uptake of bring-your-own-device policies among the region's enterprises, has had an adverse effect on BlackBerry's performance in the market."
The strong growth in the region's smartphone market is largely being driven by the emergence of low-priced devices that are primarily powered by Android. Indeed, almost half of all the smartphones shipped across Africa (45.1 per cent) in the quarter were priced below $100, while almost 75 per cent fall under $200. Low-priced smartphones are also having a considerable impact in the Middle East, with the $100-$200 price band accounting for the market's biggest share.
"This price bracket seems to be the sweet point for most vendors launching in the region, as well as for established vendors looking to increase their shares by targeting the lower end of the market," said Nabila Popal, research manager for IDC's Mobile Phone Tracker in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey.
"This has resulted in phones priced under $200 accounting for about 36 per cent of the Middle East smartphone market, while at the other end of the spectrum, the $450-plus price band has seen its share fall from 25 per cent in Africa and 48 per cent in the Middle East a year ago, to 14 per cent and 34 per cent today."
Nigeria and South Africa contributed significantly to the overall growth seen in Africa, with the countries experiencing year-on-year growth of 135 per cent and 56 per cent respectively. Nigeria accounted for 14 per cent of all smartphone shipments across the continent during the first quarter, while South Africa was responsible for 12 per cent.
Samsung, Tecno and Apple were the leading smartphone vendors in Africa during the quarter, with Huawei being ousted from the top three. The three leading vendors accounted for a combined 55 per cent share of Africa's smartphone shipments in the quarter.
For the Middle East region, Saudi Arabia and Turkey were the biggest markets, with the former accounting for a share of around 20 per cent and the latter for 17.6 per cent. Saudi Arabia saw year-on-year shipment growth of 9.5 per cent, while the Turkish market expanded 33 per cent over the same period.
The region's fastest growth rate in the first quarter was seen in Pakistan, where shipments increased 123 per cent year-on-year. Samsung, Apple and Huawei made up the top three smartphone vendors in the Middle East, together accounting for over 65 per cent share of the market.
In terms of screen sizes, the market appears to be consolidating within the four- to 5.5-inch range. "For the Middle East, 78 per cent of all smartphone shipments in Q1 2015 fell into this bracket," said Saad Elkhadem, research analyst at IDC. "The strongest growth was seen for smartphones with screens of 4.5 to five inches, with shipments of such devices increasing 130 per cent year-on-year."
- alvin@khaleejtimes.com

The growth in smartphones in the Middle East and Africa region is being spurred by Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. — AFP
The growth in smartphones in the Middle East and Africa region is being spurred by Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. — AFP


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