The Middle East and Africa Smartphones Market is expected to reach a CAGR of 9% during the forecast period (2021 - 2026). The regional smartphone market is also anticipated to witness some disruptions owing to the emergence of COVID-19. Supply constraints are likely to hamper the growth in the region owing to chipset and component shortages across most of the smartphone brands in the first half of the year. However, with the supply chain returning to normal and with the vaccine rollout anticipated to significantly reduce the possibility of additional lockdowns and surge in COVID-19 cases, the market is expected to witness the return of growth towards the second half of the year.
- Moreover, as of Oct 2020, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Realme was aiming to become one of the prominent player in the GCC countries within the next two years. The company entered the GCC region in January but had to slow down its marketing efforts owing to Covid-19 and lockdowns. The company has launched nine of its models in the market and will be focusing on both online as well as offline channel. The product prices range between AED 399 and AED 1,199.
- 5G is one of the major drivers for the growth of smartphones market in the region. According to Ericsson Mobility Report, in the Middle East & Africa, the number of subscribers for 5G services in the MEA region may reach 60 million by 2024, representing about 3% of all mobile subscriptions in the region. GSMA also estimates that there may be around 50 million 5G connections across MENA, of which 20 million connections could be in the Arab States alone, by 2025.
- Hence, the development of 5G technologies and the increasing usage of mobile internet is expected to create significant demand for advanced smartphones in these regions. Vodacom, in May 2020, switched on its live 5G mobile network in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, with further rollouts planned for other parts of the country. The company also offered 5G enabled devices, such as LG V50 5G smartphone, and Huawei 5G CPE PRO FWA router, which customers could use to experience the 5G network within the coverage area of the 20 live sites.
- Thus, telecoms in the region are partnering with device providers to encourage and reduce the friction in the usage of 5G technology. Further, government policies to enable device manufacturers to manufacture affordable 5G devices will also facilitate faster 5G adoption in the region.
Key Market Trends
Android is Expected to Grow Significantly
- Android smartphones have also recently caught up to Artificial intelligence and virtual assistance software with google assistants that allow the user to pass voice command and gives equal coemption to Siri in iPhones. With such features, android is becoming more and more sophisticated over time as it sought to integrate after features with different versions that help in refining the products as a whole.
- The region is witnessing increased product innovations owing to the increased competition between players to introduce the latest features and capture the market. Many states in the region are increasingly investing in expanding the scope of commercial 5G networks. Both Etisalat and Ooredoo have been undertaking live 5G trials on speed, equipment, latency, and beam steering (for signal distance), with commercial launches in mind.
- In Jun 2020, OPPO was gearing up to bring its new premium flagship smartphone in the UAE. The company’s product Find X2 Pro was launched in partnership with Etisalat, primarily offering a new generation of superior performance, excellent photography, and company’s technological excellence to the UAE. Also, in order to deliver a seamless 5G experience to its users, the product integrates Smart 5G technology to intelligently navigate and choose the most suitable network in order to maximize speed and battery life.
- Further, in Mar 2021, OPPO announced the launch of its latest Reno5 Series of 5G smartphones in the GCC. The company’s first all-5G launch includes three models, Reno5 Pro 5G, Reno5 5G and Reno5 Z 5G. Driven by its 2021 theme of Technology for Mankind, Kindness for the World, the company believes that 5G will empower people to live connected lives and reap the benefits of a technology-powered world.
- Also, in Jun 2021, China's technology company Xiaomi, that is known for its smartphones, opened its first retail store in Saudi Arabia. The company is very optimistic about the Saudi market, voicing its hope that more company stores will be opened in the future in the region.
- Furthermore, the rumored launches of various android phones such as OnePlus Nord CE (5G), Google Pixel 5a, Honor 50, Nokia X50, Folding Google Pixel, Oppo folding phone in 2021 indicate the penetration of Android OS in the smartphones and prove that the OS is the most preferred among various users from Middle Eastern countries.
Africa is Expected to Grow Substantially during the Forecast Period
- The rising unemployment rate and the economic uncertainty caused by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to shift consumer buying patterns towards more affordable and feature-rich products. The African region has been struggling with economic hardships, but smartphones have been becoming an essential consumer item, making it a resilient market.
- The higher cost of a smartphone in Africa has been making smartphones largely inaccessible to the majority of the population. In order to tackle these issues, in Sep 2020, as part of the line-up of activities for the GSMA Thrive Africa 2020, Orange announced the launch of Sanza touch, which is an exclusive Orange smartphone and one of the most affordable 4G Android devices.
- The company stated that the device will retail around USD 30, and this ultra-affordable price point was intended to make it the most accessible device on the market with the ultimate goal of driving digital inclusion and providing much more people with access to mobile internet.
- Also, according to GSMA, smartphone adoption is continuing to rise significantly in the region, primarily reaching around 50% of the total connections in 2020, as cheaper devices have become available in the market. The smartphone financing models are also gaining traction, demonstrated by the recent partnership between Safaricom and Google, enabling low-income consumers to pay for the new 4G devices in daily instalments.
- The smartphone market in Africa is also highly competitive, however, fewer devices are designed with African customers in mind. This issue was something the Chinese company Transsion recognized early, which largely enabled it to become a prominent player in the region over the last few years. According to Transsion Holdings, it has sold more than 130 million Tecno and Itel cells in the African region.
- The companies in the region in order to expand its presence have been offering additional services. For instance, in Jun 2021, Samsung launched its door-to-door repair service in South Africa for its smartphones, tablets and watches. The service will enable customers who require repairs to have their smartphone collected from their house or business, and returned, provided the property is within 40km of a customer centre.
- Additionally, in Mar 2021, MediaTek, a fabless semiconductor company, reiterated its commitment towards providing new technology solutions in order to enable the rollout of future ready smartphones in the South African market. The company announced the launch of its premium gaming chip, MediaTek Helio G95, along with its offerings across the spectrum, including G90T, G85, G80, G70, G35, and G25 chips. The products were aimed at the premium 4G gaming smartphone segment. The company has also associated with various smartphone brands such as Oppo Xiaomi, and Infinix in order to launch up to ten premium, feature-rich smartphones, powered by MediaTek Helio G series in 2021.
The competitive rivalry amongst the smartphone manufacturers is very high, owing to the presence of various smartphone manufacturers across the globe. Some of the major smartphone giants are Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, and many more, competing for market shares across the region. The demand for smartphones has plateaued in recent years, due to the massive smartphone penetration across the countries. This has led to an increased focus on customer retention and innovation as key strategies to maintain competitive advantage and market share.
Reasons to Purchase this report:
- The market estimate (ME) sheet in Excel format
- 3 months of analyst support
This product will be delivered within 2 business days.
Table of Contents
1.2 Scope of the Study
4.2 Industry Attractiveness -Porter's Five Forces Analysis
4.2.1 Bargaining Power of Suppliers
4.2.2 Bargaining Power of Consumers
4.2.3 Threat of New Entrants
4.2.4 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry
4.2.5 Threat of Substitute Products
4.3 Market Drivers
4.4 Market Challenges
4.5 Impact of COVID-19 on the Industry
4.6 Pricing Analysis
5.2 By Country
5.2.1 Saudi Arabia
5.2.2 United Arab Emirates
5.2.3 South Africa
5.2.5 East Africa (Kenya,Tanzania and Uganda)
5.2.6 West Africa (Nigeria and Ghana)
5.2.8 Rest of Middle East and Africa
6.2 Key Vendor Profiles (Business Overview, Product Portfolio, Strategies, and Recent Developments)Companies such as Samsung, OPPO, Huawei, Xiaomi, Infinix, and Transsion, etc. will be analyzed as A part of this section.
A selection of companies mentioned in this report includes:
- Samsung Electronics
- Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp., Ltd
- Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
- Xiaomi Corporation
- Infinix Mobile
- Transsion Holdings