MEA Smartphones Consolidate in $100 – $200 Bracket

Smartphone shipments in the MEA region will reach 155 million units this year, says IDC, after a 66% YoY rise in Q1’15 (to 36 million units). 63% of handsets shipped in the Middle East in Q1, and 47% in Africa, were smartphones. Feature phones have been declining quickly at the same time, with roughly a 20% shipment fall in both sub-regions in Q1. IDC expects feature phones to represent 27% of the MEA handset market by end-2019.

Android and iOS are spurring MEA smartphone growth, with a combined share of more than 95% in Q1’15. Shipments of Android and iOS devices rose 67% YoY. Android had an 80% market share in the Middle East, and iOS 17%; in Africa these figures are 89% and 7%, respectively.

Blackberry’s share fell across the MEA region. Vendors’ shipments were down 14% YoY in Africa and 29% in the Middle East, despite the launch of several new models. “The loss of the corporate segment, spurred by the continued uptake of bring-your-own-device policies among the region’s enterprises, has had an adverse effect on BlackBerry’s performance in the market”, said IDC’s Isaac T. Ngatia.

Low-cost devices – primarily running Android – are driving the MEA smartphone market. 45.1% of smartphones shipped across Africa in Q1 were priced below $100, and almost 75% were sub-$200. The $100 – $200 price band also has the largest market share in the Middle East. Phones priced under $200 have about a 36% share in the Middle Eastern market. At the other end of the spectrum, $450+ models have seen their share fall from 25% in Africa and 48% in the Middle East to 14% and 34%, respectively.

Nigeria and South Africa, with YoY growth levels of 135% and 56%, respectively, contributed to smartphone growth across Africa. Samsung, Teco and Apple were the leading smartphone vendors, with a combined share of 55%. In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Turkey were the biggest markets, with shares of 20% and 17.6%, respectively, and growth of 9.5% and 33%. Pakistan showed the fastest growth, however, at 125%. Samsung, Apple and Huawei were the largest vendors, taking 65% of the market.

The 4″ – 5.5″ screen size bracket was the most popular across MEA. 78% of smartphones in the Middle East fell into this category. The strongest growth was amongst 4.5″ – 5″ devices, with shipments rising 130% YoY.