RIYADH: The smartphone market in the Gulf Cooperation Council region is forecast to grow 13.8 percent quarter-on-quarter in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to a recent report by International Data Corporation.
With the expectation of supply issues getting resolved, the IDC report noted that the demand for Apple’s latest line of devices will help drive the overall value growth.
This comes despite shipments of mobile phones to the GCC region declining 5.9 percent in the third quarter to 5.23 million units, as inflationary pressure continued to dent consumer spending.
Smartphone shipments were also down 5.7 percent to 4.74 million units in the third quarter, but Saudi Arabia accounted for 52.4 percent of all smartphones shipped across the GCC in Q3 2022. Feature phone shipments also declined 8.1 percent over the same period to 0.48 million units, the report added.
In terms of value, the GCC smartphone market was worth $1.93 billion in Q3 of 2022, an increase of 5.4 over the second quarter, while the feature phone market totaled $8.42 million, down 17 percent, showed IDC data.
“Product shortages, while generally improved compared to previous quarters, continued to plague portions of the smartphone market,” said Akash Balachandran, a research manager at IDC.
Furthermore, he said inflationary pressures impacted consumer spending among low- and mid-end price bands as discretionary spending were directed toward essentials. “The market’s premium price bands performed well in the third quarter of 2022 due to the release of several popular flagship devices from Apple and Samsung, which explains the quarterly growth in value.”
Saudi Arabia led the Gulf region in smartphone shipment in the third quarter of 2022, but the figures were down 4.4 percent in unit terms when compared with the second quarter.
The UAE, the GCC’s second-largest market, accounted for 23.6 percent of the region’s overall smartphone market, despite shipments to the country declining 7.2 percent quarter-on-quarter.
“The decline in these two large markets came as a result of an unwillingness among channel partners to carry inventory as they are being challenged by fluctuating prices and varied pricing between different retail segments,” added Balachandran. “In Apple’s case, product shortages limited the company’s quarterly growth.”
Samsung led the GCC smartphone market in unit terms in the third quarter with a 47.6 percent share, while Apple came second with a 16.8 percent share as its sales were bottle-necked by supply constraints.
With a 15.2 percent share, Xiaomi was placed third but suffered a 5.1 percent quarter-on-quarter decline in shipments with its focus on more midrange and high-end devices.
Moving forward, the report noted that 5G penetration is set to continue to grow as the technology is expanding into lower price bands.
“5G devices accounted for 38.2 percent of smartphone shipments to the region in their quarter and the technology is expected to become standard in mid-tier price bands among Android vendors,” said Ramazan Yavuz, a senior research manager at IDC.
“By the end of 2026, we expect that 5G devices will account for 82.6 percent of total GCC smartphone shipments,” he added.