Middle East Smartphone Shipments Soar by 39% in Q1 2024

Smartphone shipments in the Middle East (excluding Turkey) reached 12.2 million units in Q1 2024, marking a 39 percent year-on-year increase, according to Canalys research.
Growth in Middle East smartphone market Q1 2024This significant surge in smartphone shipments in the Middle East was driven by reduced inflation, strong non-oil growth, and ongoing investments in economic diversification by oil-exporting nations. Additionally, economic and social reforms have stimulated private sector investment and an expanding expatriate population, particularly in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies.

Saudi Arabia saw a robust 54 percent year-on-year increase in smartphone shipments, fueled by a 10 percent rise in tourist arrivals and increased tourist spending. The UAE, the region’s second-largest market, grew 19 percent.

Iraq experienced 112 percent growth, driven by demand for sub-$200 devices and Chinese vendors offering better color, material, and finish (CMF) devices at affordable prices.

Israel faced 20 percent decline due to geopolitical tensions. Qatar saw a 3 percent decline due to weakening consumer demand, while Kuwait experienced a modest 4 percent gain.

Samsung and Apple focused on strengthening their premium portfolios in Q1.
Top brands in Middle East smartphone market Q1 2024Samsung’s Q1 volumes declined 17 percent due to a reduced contribution from low-end and mid-range A-series models. However, its average selling price (ASP) rose by 19 percent owing to strong retail campaigns highlighting Galaxy AI features of the S24 series, particularly the S24 Ultra, which accounted for 66 percent of the series’ volume.

Apple saw a 14 percent regional decline, but its ‘Pro’ series models contributed more significantly to its portfolio.

Chinese OEMs expanded their presence in the region. Xiaomi secured the third spot in the Middle East due to the popularity of the Redmi Note 13 series and its expansion into independent and organized retail, particularly in competitive markets like the UAE.

TRANSSION is experiencing substantial growth, leveraging Infinix’s strategic distributor selection in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Tecno is solidifying its presence in the region through aggressive resource acquisition and intensified marketing efforts. HONOR secured the fifth spot by attracting consumers across all price ranges through aggressive retail initiatives and new service centers in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, Motorola is establishing its niche via strategic partnerships with major retailers like Al Ghanim/Xcite in Kuwait and prominent online platforms such as Amazon.

Future Outlook

Canalys expects high-single-digit growth in smartphone shipments in the Middle East in 2024, propelled by various regional governmental commitments to diversify economies and market adaptability.

Despite soaring component costs and tighter margins, smartphone vendors are ramping up their offerings to appeal to tech-savvy Gen Z and a growing immigrant population seeking the latest technology at accessible prices.