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According to the figures released by the International Data Corporation (IDC), the Middle East mobile market suffered its third quarter-on-quarter decline in Q3 2016. The shipments which were 23.9 million units in the second quarter of this year declined by 0.7%, down to 23.8 in Q3 2016.
Since Q4 2016 is a good time for mobile shipments, IDC expects the ME smartphone market to achieve 8% quarter-on-quarter and 8.1% year-on-year growth in Q4 2016.
IDC also states that the mobile shipments in the UAE declined 10% quarter-on-quarter in Q3 2016.Other countries such as Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman smartphone shipments fell together at 4.1% in the same time. It’s said that the low oil prices, limited government spending and the lack of innovation have impacted the mobile phone market across the GCC and the Middle East has resulted in a decline in mobile shipments.
"The Middle East is no longer one of the strongest areas of growth on the global smartphone map and its fall from this position has been rapid," says Simon Baker, the senior programme manager for mobile phones at IDC CEMA. "A new middle tier is emerging in the region's smartphone market and the old polarisation between entry level and the top end is fading. In other words, the Middle East is becoming more like markets in other parts of the world."
IDC also mentions that all countries in the GCC suffered a quarter-on-quarter decline in smartphone shipments, with Saudi Arabia’s smartphone market falling the most at 18.3%.
"The lack of overall innovation in the smartphone industry and the flattening of price declines have also reduced consumer demand for upgrades, thereby lengthening the refresh cycle. This marks the dawn of a new era for the smartphone market, since these two factors were the main drivers of the high double-digit growth rates the industry had previously become accustomed to. As such, I expect the smartphone market to see flat or modest growth at best until the next big innovation comes along," Popal said.
As for the smartphone brands, Samsung still, leads with 35% of the Middle East market shares despite the issues caused by the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. The company only suffered about 3% decline on a quarter-on-quarter basis. Huawei sits in the second place with a 14.4 % market share in the Middle East. However, Apple only takes up 11% share despite with the recent launch of the Apple iPhone 7 and Apple iPhone 7 Plus. IDC expects that Apple will regain further market share percentages in Q4 2016.