In the second quarter of 2019, the GCC's phone market saw strong unit growth. Shipments totaled to 6.5 million devices worth USD1.7 billion according to new figures.
Statistics provided by the International Data Corporation (IDC) showed a growth of 11.5 per cent compared to last year over the same time period. Furthermore, the region saw a quarter on quarter growth of 8 per cent. Despite smartphone shipments declining by 4.5 per cent in this quarter compared to last year, the phone market saw a quarterly growth of 5.5 per cent to 1.7 million units.
However, the IDC also pointed out declining shipments in Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait compared to the first quarter, caused by the downturn in smartphone shipments with feature phone segments remaining stable. Akash Balachandran, a senior research analyst at IDC said "Smaller GCC markets like Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait have seen their smartphone markets contract due to a reduction in consumer spending caused by the introduction of new levies, a difficult job market, and changing government policies."
Looking ahead, the IDC expects overall GCC mobile phone shipments to close in 2019, up 3.5 per cent while in the long term, the market is likely to expand at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 2.9 per cent through to 2023. IDC further said “This growth will be further fueled by the introduction and rapid proliferation of 5G devices and other form factors, such as foldable devices, that are also expected to drop in prices quite rapidly towards the end of the five-year forecast period.”