The overall mobile phone market of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region experienced quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) growth of 8.2% in quarter four (Q4) of 2020 to total 5.38 million units, according to newly released research from International Data Corporation (IDC).
Apple posted 55.7% QoQ increase in shipments in Q4 2020 following the release of its iPhone 12 line of devices. By the way, the GCC is a regional intergovernmental political and economic union consisting of all Arab states of the Persian Gulf – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – except for Iraq.
“Apple enjoyed strong demand for the iPhone 12 series in Q4 2020, while its iPhone 11 series continued to perform well in the region,” says Akash Balachandran, a senior research analyst at IDC. “Shortages in the supply of both the iPhone 12 and certain other models curtailed the maximum growth we could have seen from Apple in Q4 2020.”
IDC’s latest Quarterly Global Mobile Phone Tracker reveals that smartphone shipments grew 2.3% QoQ to 4.26 million units, while feature phone shipments increased 38.3% to total 1.12 million units. In terms of value, the smartphone market totaled $1.62 billion in Q4 2020, up 39.5% QoQ. Meanwhile, the feature phone market’s value grew 22.2% over the same period to reach $19.2 million.
Q4 2020 saw most GCC countries attempting to return to some state of normality, with borders re-opening to regular travel — especially in the UAE, where the vaccine roll-out was beginning to take place in earnest. Although consumer spending remained focused on essentials, there was a release of pent-up demand, particularly for iOS devices, according to IDC
Saudi Arabia accounted for 49.4% of all smartphones shipped within the GCC region in Q4 2020. However, the Kingdom experienced an overall QoQ decline in shipments, with component and supply shortages impacting the lower-end devices of Android vendors.
The UAE — s a country in Western Asia located at the eastern end of the Arabian Peninsula — accounted for 26.1% of the region’s smartphone shipments and recorded QoQ growth thanks to the strong performance of Apple’s new releases and mid-range models from brands like Samsung, Oppo, and Vivo, which were not impacted to the same extent by component shortages.