The shipments of smartphone to the Gulf region fell by 9.4 percent in 2018 to 23.6 million, the lowest since 2013, according to a research carried out by the International Development Corporation (IDC), reports Al-Qabas daily quoting the Arabian Business weekly.
The Smartphone shipments in 2018 were down 30 percent from the peak in the Gulf market in 2015 when 33.9 million smartphones were shipped. Sources said 5.8 million smartphones were shipped to the Gulf in the fourth quarter of 2018, down 2.2 percent from the third quarter.
IDC’s research analyst Cavell Merchant said the smartphone market in the Gulf was facing a major challenge as shipments declined significantly in 2018. He attributed this decline to several factors, notably regional uncertainty, lack of innovation in modern technology and constant price increases. “These factors make consumers question if it is worth changing their phones and many see that there is no strong reason to buy the latest smartphone in the market. Saudi Arabia’s imports 54 percent of the GCC market share which fell 2.3 percent in 2018 and 8.2 in the fourth quarter.
On a quarter-on-quarter basis last year, shipments of smartphones fell 2.4 percent in the UAE, 5.4 percent in Oman and 8.6 percent in Kuwait, while in Bahrain and Qatar they grew 2.1 percent and 7.6 percent respectively in the last quarter of 2018. Samsung and Apple retained the first and second positions in the Gulf smartphone market in 2018 with 32.3 percent for the South Korean company and 23.7 percent for the US company. However, Huawei’s share rose 8 percent. Nabila Bhopal, director of research at IDC said Huawei’s growth in the region is attributed to new features at low prices and successful marketing because the Chinese company was able to respond quickly to the conditions of the local markets in the Gulf countries and consumer preferences.