The GCC mobile phone market is seeing an increase in shipments amid healthy consumer demand

Dubai – Newly released data from IDCs Global Quarterly Cell Phone Tracker shows that shipments of mobile phones to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region increased by 8.3% sequentially (QoQ) in the fourth quarter of 2021 to total 6.10 million units. Smartphone shipments increased 6.3% sequentially to 5.39 million units, while feature phone shipments increased 26.8% to 0.7 million units over the same period. In terms of value, the GCC smartphone market was worth $2.17 billion in Q4 2021, up 12.5% ​​sequentially, while the feature phone market totaled $15.07 million. dollar, up 32.1%.

While supply shortages continued throughout the fourth quarter of 2021, the launch of new high-premium iOS devices ($1,000 <$1,600) and mid-to-high-end Android devices ($400 <$600) helped a significant QoQ growth in both units and drive forward value. Saudi Arabia accounted for 56.0% of all smartphone shipments to the GCC in Q4 2021, with shipments to the country increasing by 7.8% qoq. In the region's second-largest market, the United Arab Emirates, smartphone shipments rose 7.2% sequentially in the fourth quarter of 2021 to 22.6% of the region's total.

“Saudi Arabia continues to receive better coverage than its GCC neighbors and remains a priority for both established and new entrants to the mobile phone market,” said Akash Balachandran, senior analyst at IDC. “The growth of the smartphone market in the United Arab Emirates was particularly driven by an improved range of Apple devices towards the end of the year. A number of new and emerging brands are also increasingly targeting the UAE and Saudi Arabian markets as they pursue growth strategies to further establish themselves in the Middle East.”

Samsung led the GCC smartphone market in terms of shipments in the fourth quarter of 2021 with a 45.0% share. The provider saw 9.4% QoQ growth in shipments as supply improved, particularly in key entry-level models. Second-place Apple, with a 19.0% share, saw shipments jump 8.6% sequentially on strong demand for its new 13-series devices. To round out the top 3, Xiaomi accounted for 13.8% of the GCC smartphone market in Q4 2021, with its mid-range and mid-to-high-end devices seeing a 5.9% QoQ increase in shipments to the United States effected region.

The GCC smartphone market is expected to decline 3.8% QoQ in Q1 2022, with consumer demand falling as inflation rises. As travel and tourism continue to normalize, the negative impact of supply shortages will prevent a meaningful recovery.

“Greater 5G penetration is inevitable as the technology becomes more widely available on increasingly affordable devices,” said Ramazan Yavuz, senior research manager at IDC. “5G devices accounted for 37.6% of the GCC smartphone market in Q4 2021, with shipments growing 13.6% q/q. 5G shipments will continue to grow rapidly as the technology becomes the standard among mid-range Android vendors, and we expect it to account for 79.1% of the total GCC smartphone market by the end of 2026.”

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