As seen in other global markets, smartphone shipments in the Middle East and Africa have fallen 11% year-on-year, the lowest Q1 shipment figure since 2016, as macroeconomic factors continue to batter economies.
Counterpoint Research senior analyst Yang Wang said: “The MEA smartphone market saw another tough quarter as the macroeconomic environment remained challenging.
“Difficulties impacting consumer spending towards big-ticket upgrades such as smartphones are now well known, and both consumers and OEMs are adjusting to the new realities with extra caution. The prospect of a V-shaped rebound has dimmed as companies prioritize inventory management, cost controls and streamlined product portfolios.”
Despite the dip in shipment figures, there were “signs of stabilisation” at the end of the quarter. Manufacturers reported high sales due to Ramadan and Easter promotions. This proved beneficial to Apple as its iPhone 14 range, especially its Pro and Pro Max models, were extremely popular. Apple was the only top-five vendor to report growth with a 35% increase in year-on-year shipments.
Xiaomi and Samsung saw a 2% dip, and Inifinix with a 6%, meanwhile, Tecno took a 10% hit.
Looking ahead, Wang said the poor consumer demand will “remain the main theme for the rest of the year” as consumers will retain current devices and upgrade later. Shipment levels will “improve gradually” in H2 as smartphone vendors and distributors launch new devices and promotions.
This will coincide with better economic conditions as global interest rates and energy prices stabilize, providing much-needed breathing room for consumers in emerging markets,” said Wang.