Smartphone shipments to the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) increased 6.3 percent quarter on quarter in Q4 2019 to 5.15 million units, according to IDC.
Smartphone revenue increased 11.2 percent quarter-on-quarter to $1.2 billion.
Smartphones accounted for 78 percent of overall mobile phone shipments in Q4 2019 against 73.2 percent in the previous quarter.
Total mobile phone market dropped 0.2 percent quarter-on-quarter.
Feature phone shipments declined 18.1 percent to 1.45 million units due to the fact that telecoms and channel players across the region (particularly in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain) have actively started to move away from offering devices that support the 2G spectrum.
The value of feature phone shipments dipped 20.8 percent to $28.9 million.
Smartphone shipment in the UAE rose 9.9 percent. Smartphone shipment in Saudi Arabia grew 6.7 percent. The UAE and Saudi Arabia account for more than 75 percent of the GCC smartphone market.
Smartphone shipments grew in Bahrain (9.6 percent), Kuwait (2.1 percent), and Qatar (3.0 percent). Oman was the only GCC market to suffer a decline, with smartphone shipments falling 2.2 percent over the quarter.
“Previously, shipments had been constrained in smaller GCC markets by the introduction new levies and taxes, shifting government policies, and challenging job conditions brought about by nationalization programs,” Akash Balachandran, senior analyst at IDC, said in a report.
Samsung dominated the GCC smartphone market in Q4 2019 with 40.6 percent unit share, though this was down 5.1 percentage points on the previous quarter. The contraction in Samsung’s smartphone share largely stemmed from supply chain shortages in the channel and the exceptionally strong performance of Apple and Xiaomi.
iPhone maker Apple increased its smartphone shipments by 22.6 percent. Xiaomi increased its shipments smartphone shipments by 51.4 percent to take share of 6.8 percent.
Smartphone shipments of Huawei fell 1.7 percent in Q4 2019, with the vendor accounting for 15.7 percent share of the smartphone market, a significant decline from 24.3 percent in Q4 2018.