25 Mar 2022

GCC Mobile Phone Market Sees Shipments Increase Amid Healthy Consumer Demand

Dubai – Newly released data from IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker shows that shipments of mobile phones to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region grew 8.3% quarter on quarter (QoQ) in Q4 2021 to total 6.10 million units. Smartphone shipments were up 6.3% QoQ to 5.39 million units, while feature phone shipments grew 26.8% over the same period to 0.7 million units. In terms of value, the GCC smartphone market was worth $2.17 billion in Q4 2021, an increase of 12.5% QoQ, while the feature phone market totaled $15.07 million, up 32.1%.

While supply shortages continued throughout Q4 2021, the launch of new iOS devices in the high-premium range ($1,000<$1,600) and Android devices in the mid to high-end range ($400<$600) helped drive significant QoQ growth in both units and value. Saudi Arabia accounted for 56.0% of all smartphone shipments to the GCC in Q4 2021, with shipments to the country increasing 7.8% QoQ. The region's second largest market, the UAE, saw smartphone shipments increase 7.2% QoQ in Q4 2021 to account for 22.6% of the region's total.

"Saudi Arabia continued to receive better supply than its GCC neighbours and remains a priority for both incumbents and new entrants to the mobile phone market," says Akash Balachandran, a senior analyst at IDC. "The UAE smartphone market's growth was driven in particular by an improved supply of Apple devices toward the end of the year. A number of new and upcoming brands are also increasingly targeting the UAE and Saudi Arabia markets as they pursue growth strategies to establish themselves further in the Middle East."

Samsung led the GCC smartphone market in terms of shipments in Q4 2021 with 45.0% share. The vendor posted 9.4% QoQ growth in shipments as supply improved, especially for key entry-level models. Second-placed Apple, with 19.0% share, saw shipments increase 8.6% QoQ on the back of strong demand for its new 13 series devices. Rounding out the top three, Xiaomi accounted for 13.8% of the GCC smartphone market in Q4 2021, with its midrange and mid-to-high-end devices driving a 5.9% QoQ increase in shipments to the region.

The GCC smartphone market is forecast to decline 3.8% QoQ in Q1 2022, with consumer demand set to fall as inflation increases. While travel and tourism continues to normalize, the negative impact of supply shortages will prevent a significant pickup.

"Greater 5G penetration is inevitable as the technology becomes more widely available on consistently cheaper devices," says Ramazan Yavuz, a senior research manager at IDC. "5G devices accounted for 37.6% of the GCC smartphone market in Q4 2021, with shipments increasing 13.6% QoQ. 5G shipments will continue to see rapid growth as the technology becomes standard in mid-tier price bands among Android vendors, and we expect them to make up 79.1% of the total GCC smartphone market by the end of 2026."

For more information, please contact Sheila Manek at smanek@idc.com  or on +971 4 446 3154.

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,200 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology, IT benchmarking and sourcing, and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC's analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly owned subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world's leading tech media, data, and marketing services company. To learn more about IDC, please visit www.idc.com. Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC and LinkedIn. Subscribe to the IDC Blog for industry news and insights.

IDC in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa

For the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa region, IDC retains a coordinated network of offices in Riyadh, Nairobi, Lagos, Johannesburg, Cairo, and Istanbul, with a regional center in Dubai. Our coverage couples local insights with international perspectives to provide a comprehensive understanding of markets in these dynamic regions. Our market intelligence services are unparalleled in depth, consistency, scope, and accuracy. IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey currently fields over 130 analysts, consultants, and conference associates across the region. To learn more about IDC MEA, please visit www.idc.com/mea. You can follow IDC MEA on Twitter at @IDCMEA.


Companies Covered

Tecno Mobile Limited, Xiaomi Inc., Apple Inc., Samsung

Regions Covered

Middle East and Africa

Topics Covered

Broadband, Smartphone

For more information, contact:

Sheila Manek
+971 4 446 3154