International Data Corporation says it expects GCC mobile phone shipments to close 2019 up 3.5%
The GCC's mobile phone market saw strong unit growth in the second quarter of 2019 with shipments totalling 6.5 million devices worth $1.7 billion, according to new figures.
Statistics from International Data Corporation (IDC) showed growth of 11.5 percent compared to Q2 2018 and quarter on quarter growth of 8 percent, continuing the growth seen in Q1.
Despite shipments declining 4.5 percent in Q2 compared to the year-earlier period, the feature phone market saw quarterly growth of 5.5 percent to total 1.7 million units.
The smartphone market, spurred by particularly strong performances in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, totaled 4.7 million units, up 19 percent on an annual basis.
IDC also said combined mobile shipments declined in Bahrain (-5.9 percent), Oman (-4.4 percent), and Kuwait (-12 percent) compared to Q1, caused by a downturn in smartphone shipments, with the feature phone segments remaining stable in each of these countries.
"Smaller GCC markets like Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait have seen their smartphone markets contract due to a reduction in consumer spending caused by the introduction of new levies, a difficult job market, and changing government policies," said Akash Balachandran, a senior research analyst at IDC.
"Kuwait has seen a significant degree of consolidation in terms of brands, while the implementation of new taxes has reduced the purchasing power of Bahraini residents. In Oman, the government's Omanization policy has caused a significant drop in the expat population, which has naturally impacted the mobile phone market."
He added: "By contrast, Saudi Arabia's smartphone market is seeing growth as the market finally stabilises following all the upheaval caused by domestic policy and regulatory changes in recent years."
Despite May’s announcement of a ban on US companies doing business with Huawei, the GCC's smartphone vendor rankings remained unchanged in Q2, with Samsung first followed by Huawei and Apple.
While Huawei experienced a sharp halt in shipments in June, immediately following news of the ban, its overall volumes for the quarter were not impacted as significantly as anticipated, IDC said.
Looking ahead, IDC said it expects overall GCC mobile phone shipments to close 2019 up 3.5 percent while in the long term the market os likely to expand at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.9 percent through to 2023.
“This growth will be further fueled by the introduction and rapid proliferation of 5G devices and other form factors, such as foldable devices, that are also expected to drop in prices quite rapidly towards the end of the five-year forecast period,” said IDC.For all the latest retail news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.