GCC Mobile Market Rebounds in Q4 2016


According to IDC, the Gulf Cooperation Council region’s smartphone shipments in Q4 2016 were 5.98 million units, up 7.7% on quarter three. Prior to this the GCC suffered three consecutive quarter-on-quarter declines from Q1 2016 to Q3 2016.

The figures for Q4 2015 compared to Q4 2016 show a decline of 30.5%, and the total year-on-year comparison, 2015 to 2016, shows total shipments down nearly 25%.

According to Isaac T. Ngatia, a senior research analyst at IDC MEA, in Q4 2016 Qatar was the only member of the GCC to post a decline, coming in at a fall of 2.2%. Saudi Arabia, which had suffered the worst declines in previous quarters, saw a reversal of fortunes in the quarter by posting GCC’s highest increase at 11.9% for the quarter. The UAE, which is the GCC’s second-largest market, saw shipments up by around 5% quarter-on-quarter.

Samsung continued its lead of the region in the quarter with almost 35% share, but shipments were down slightly at 0.3%, quarter-on-quarter. Apple made the biggest gain recording a quarter-on-quarter growth of 20% to secure 23% share of the market.

The GCC smartphone market dropped 23% year-on-year with Samsung and Apple experiencing falls of 32% and 21%, respectively, although Huawei made a 9% year-on-year increase.

Only 25% of Android smartphone shipments in 2016 were priced above $450, whereas this figure was 50% in 2013. The number of smartphones shipped with 4G was 80% in 2016, compared to under 50% in 2014.

IDC expects the GCC smartphone market to see a year-on-year growth of 3% in 2017.