Is the region's smartphone market expected to grow in 2023?
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Is the region’s smartphone market expected to grow in 2023?

Is the region’s smartphone market expected to grow in 2023?

The competition remains stiff in the coming years, especially for emerging brands

Divsha Bhat
Smartphone market

Canalys research shows that the Middle East smartphone market (excluding Turkey) is expected to grow 6 per cent in 2023 to 40.4 million units.

The largest market in the region, Saudi Arabia, is anticipated to experience a 9 per cent expansion owing to an increase in foreign direct investments and the transition of the market from a conservative to an open economy.

Likewise, the UAE’s smartphone market is expected to grow by 6 per cent due to the country’s robust expansion in non-oil industries such as real estate, tourism and trade.

Iraq, a consumer market primarily driven by cash transactions, displayed promising potential in 2022 but requires restructuring policies to tackle fluctuations in forex, a statement said.

In contrast, Kuwait and Qatar are predicted to witness a slight growth, in line with the rising oil prices and the FIFA World Cup in 2022, which boosted travel and retail sales.

“Samsung and Apple continue to be the defacto brands in the channel with strong power to stimulate sell-through. On the other hand, emerging vendors still face challenges to drive more sell-in as channels cannot take in more inventory,” said Manish Pravinkumar, senior consultant at Canalys.

“While Samsung is bolstering its position in the premium market with more supply and marketing investment in its recently announced S23 series, the supply of iPhones to the Middle east region is anticipated to rise in upcoming quarters.

Emerging brands such as Xiaomi, Infinix, and Tecno will learn from their current challenges in channel management. Given retail channels’ demand for better profitability, these brands will look to incentivize the channel by offering rebates while restraining their spending in ATL marketing.”

“Middle East markets witnessed a post-pandemic shift in consumer and commercial dynamics,” said Sanyam Chaurasia, analyst at Canalys.

“The year 2023 will bring a favourable business environment, supported by buoyant energy prices, recycling of the funds from oil towards reform programmes in each country and creating space for further intra-GCC business investment. Meanwhile, telcos will aggressively push 5G to echo the government’s digitalisation objectives. There will be more collaboration with smartphone brands on flagship 5G smartphone launches to increase average revenue per user.”

“The ongoing 5G development will see a transformation within the smartphone user experience and drive the other digital ecosystem.

Canalys expects half of the smartphones shipped in 2023 to be 5G-enabled. The regional competition remains stiff in the coming years, especially for emerging brands.

Canalys preliminary smartphone market pulse: Full year 2022

Vendor 2022 market share 2021 market share


40% 34%


14% 15%




Apple 13%




Others 15%


Note: Xiaomi estimates include sub-brand POCO and OPPO includes OnePlus. Percentages may not add up to 100 per cent due to rounding.

The players with better inventory management capability and channel relationships will stand out in the upcoming quarters. Smartphone vendors should focus on organised retail – the most critical channel for consumers to experience newer products and technology. This is critical for the market challengers to have a significant store presence to stand out in brand awareness and win consumer mind share,” added Pravinkumar.

Read: Smartphone shipments drop for fourth consecutive quarter, down 12% in 2022

Also read: GCC smartphone market suffers decline as demand continues to weaken

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