4.82 million phones were sold in the UAE in 2020

Youssef Al-Arabi (Abu Dhabi)

The total shipments of mobile phones to the United Arab Emirates during the past year amounted to about 4.82 million devices valued at 4.56 billion dirhams (1.24 billion dollars), according to the global data corporation “IDC”, which specializes in communications and information technology research.
According to the data obtained by the «Union», a copy of which, that shipments of smart phones from global manufacturers to their agents and authorized distributors in the UAE amounted to 4.08 million smart phones, valued at 4.5 billion dirhams (1.22 billion dollars).

Traditional phones
As a result of the popularity of smart phones, shipments of traditional phones to the local market decreased by 52%, to reach 737,000 mobile phones during the year 2020, compared to 1.56 million traditional devices in 2019.
According to ADC, the average price of a smartphone in the UAE last year was about 1,104 dirhams ($ 301), while the average price of a traditional phone was about 70 dirhams ($ 19).
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the mobile market in the Gulf Cooperation Council region witnessed a quarterly growth of 8.2% during the fourth quarter of last year to reach 5.38 million units. Smart phone shipments grew by 2.3% on a quarterly basis to 4.26 million units. In terms of value, the smartphone market totaled $ 1.62 billion in the fourth quarter of last year.
During the last quarter of last year, the UAE accounted for 26.1% of smartphone shipments in the region and recorded growth on a quarterly basis thanks to the strong performance of new Apple releases and mid-range models from brands such as Samsung.
5G devices accounted for 16.5% of all smartphone shipments across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in the fourth quarter of 2020, and is expected to grow exponentially with its availability in lower price ranges.
Ramadan Yavuz, research director for the first smartphones in the Middle East and Africa at IDC, told Al-Ittihad that the United Arab Emirates accounted for 24% of the total smartphone shipments to the Gulf countries during the year 2020, amounting to 17.1 million units of Smart phone devices.
He pointed out that the UAE’s share of the smart phone market in the region is trending to rise, reaching 24.7%, to reach 4.3 million units in 2021, recording an annual growth of 6.4%.
He added that the mobile phone market in the GCC countries is preparing to record a growth of 6.0% on an annual basis, to reach 22.1 million units in 2021, with the smart phone market reaching 17.6 million units at an annual growth rate of 2.9%.
Yavuz said that the last quarter of last year witnessed strong growth due to the tendency of most of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries to ease closure restrictions, resume economic activities and reopen borders for regular travel, in addition to the acceleration of the pace in the implementation of the vaccination campaign against Covid 19, especially in the United Arab Emirates.

Pent-up demand
He added that although consumer spending remained focused on fundamentals, the market benefited from what could be called “pent-up demand liberalization,” which is that consumers bought the commodity after they had delayed purchasing it for months during the height of closures related to limiting the spread of the Coronavirus.
ADC said that the UAE market was not affected by the lack of supplies of devices and components, nor was it affected other markets in the region.
Yavuz said that with the return to normal supplies of devices and with optimistic expectations about vaccines that reduce the possibility of additional closures, the mobile phone markets in the Gulf countries are expected to witness a return to strong growth during the second half of 2021.

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