Smartphone shipments in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region fell 7.8% year-over-year (YoY) and 10% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) to 38 million units in quarter two (Q2) of 2022, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor Service.
However, Apple iPhone’s shipments grew 2% YoY, largely due to better distribution and product availability in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The iPhone 13 series has the best-selling premium devices in the region since its launch, according to Counterpoint. The GCC is a regional, intergovernmental, political, and economic union comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Counterpoint says that worsening macro headwinds on the economic and geopolitical fronts undermined consumer demand for smartphones, as well as brands’ enthusiasm to expand their footprint across the region. Commenting on the market’s performance, Senior Analyst Yang Wang said, “The biggest drag on the market was, unsurprisingly, macro issues. Inflation induced by food and fuel shortages dampened consumer demand while declining domestic currencies against the US dollar reduced the purchasing power of consumers.”
There were also secondary macro factors that impacted the market. For example, some governments imposed food export bans or “non-essential” goods import bans to stem the outflow of foreign currency reserves. Taxes on electronics products were also increased, adding more hurdles to the market’s smooth operation.
Samsung’s shipments and market share increased YoY as the mid-range A series gained popularity in the region. Transsion Group’s shipments were generally flat YoY. Infinix and TECNO gathered pace while itel struggled. New Chinese entrants Xiaomi, OPPO, vivo and realme trended down sharply due to caution stemming from demand issues elsewhere.