Smartphone shipments to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region increased 10.4 percent quarter on quarter and 5.5 percent year on year to 4.3 million units in Q1 2019, according to IDC report.
Mobile phone shipments in the GCC region rose 2.7 percent quarter on quarter and 1.1 percent year on year to 6 million units in the first quarter of 2019.
Shipments of feature phones fell 13.1 percent quarter on quarter and 8.7 percent year on year to 1.7 million units.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.
The GCC mobile phone market has faced a number of challenges over the past year, brought about by a combination of unfavorable macroeconomic conditions, changing government policies, and a lengthening of the smartphone refresh cycle, said Akash Balachandran, senior research analyst at IDC.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE, GCC’s two largest markets, account for around 74 percent of the region’s mobile phone shipments. Saudi Arabia’s phone market achieved quarter on quarter growth of 3.6 percent. UAE posted 1.3 percent quarter on quarter growth.
Smartphone shipment increased 15.1 percent in Saudi Arabia and 10.8 percent in the UAE due to popularity of phones from Samsung and Huawei.
Smartphone shipment increased 7.9 percent in Qatar and 2 percent in Oman. Smartphone shipment declined 1.1 percent in Bahrain and 0.2 percent in Kuwait.
Samsung has 32.6 percent share in the GCC smartphone market by achieving 26.2 percent increase in shipment.
Huawei achieved smartphone shipment growth of 16.5 percent to account for 25.9 percent share of the market’s smartphone shipments.
Apple recorded 1.2 percent growth. Apple’s market share declined from 21.5 percent in Q4 2018 to 19.7 percent in Q1 2019.
Honor, a brand from Huawei, has 7.7 percent unit share in Q1 2019.
Nabila Popal, senior research manager at IDC, said the overall mobile phone shipments in the GCC region will grow 0.1 percent in 2019, with smartphone shipments increasing 2.6 percent over the same period.
The overall mobile phone market will grow at 4.9 percent in 2020 and smartphone sales will increase at 5.3 percent in the GCC region.