Smartphone shipments in the Middle East region fell 3.5% in 1Q23: Canalys, ET Telecom


NEW DELHI: Smartphone shipments in the Middle East region (excluding Turkey) fell 3.5% year-over-year in Q1 2023 to 8.8 million units, according to the latest report released by Canalys on Friday.

The research firm said the region performed better as global shipments fell 13% year-over-year in the January-March quarter of 2023.

“Although the Q1 decline ended nine months of regional growth, the Middle East was the best performing sub-region,” Canalys said.

Samsung, Oppo, and Transsion lead the smartphone region in the Middle East with a share (by volume) of 43%, 15%, and 11%, respectively. Xiaomi took the fourth rank with a share of 11% while Apple rounded to the fifth rank with a 4% share in Q1 2023.

Middle East* smartphone shipments and annual growth
Canalys Smartphone Market Pulse: Q1 2023
Seller Q1 2023 shipments (millions) Q1 2023
Q1 2022
shipments (millions)
Q1 2022
Samsung 3.8 43% 4.0 45% -5.3%
OPPO 1.3 15% 1.0 11% 35.4%
Transition 1.0 11% 1.0 11% 1.6%
Xiaomi 0.9 11% 1.4 16% -35.0%
Apple 0.3 4% 0.4 5% -31.9%
Different 1.5 17% 1.3 15% 13.1%
Total 8.8 100% 9.1 100% -3.5%
Note: Xiaomi estimates include sub-brand POCO and Redmi and OPPO include OnePlus. Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Turkey is not included.
Source: Canalys Smartphone Analysis (sell-in shipment), May 2023

Of these, Oppo’s shipments rose the most at 35.4% year-over-year in Q1. In contrast, Xiaomi declined the most with 35% followed by Apple which fell by 31.9% in the same period, according to Canalys.

According to the research firm, smartphone shipments to Saudi Arabia had 1% year-over-year growth, while shipments to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) fell 3% year-over-year, and Iraq was also down 3% year-over-year. Kuwait had an 11% annual decline, and Israel, on the other hand, experienced growth of 26% due to consumer demand for premium smartphones and the growing tech industry, giving the region the title that “start-up nation”.

“Despite economic challenges to consumer spending, Samsung and Apple continue to drive its after-sales service, brand perception and channel prioritization,” said Manish Pravinkumar, Senior Consultant at Canalys.

“The S23 series is gaining momentum, but the A series is still driving market share despite annual declines in shipments. Apple’s year-over-year growth is fueled by partnerships with local retailers and operators in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and strong popularity among the younger generation,” he said.

Pravinkumar added that attractive installment payment options are acting as growth catalysts in the region, while highlighting that Xiaomi, which is considered a mid-range brand, is actively working to enter the high-end that segment.

He said that Xiaomi’s strategy for high-end segment penetration can be reflected by its investments in retail (opening its largest flagship store in Dubai Mall, UAE). “Meanwhile, Tecno and Infinix continue to mark their presence in the mid-low segment and increase their footprint in key markets such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq,” he added.

“Even with the current difficulties in the region, the long-term potential of the smartphone market remains strong,” said Sanyam Chaurasia, Analyst at Canalys. “The economy of the Middle East is recovering from the pandemic, especially in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE, where the tourism industry is growing rapidly and achieving new milestones.”

Chaurasia said the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is relatively protected due to higher oil prices and strong government strategies.

Canalys believes that the wider Middle East region, however, faces short-term challenges including persistent inflation, rising interest rates, and unpredictable geopolitical developments.

The research company expects the regional market to maintain similar shipments as last year in 2023.

  • Published On May 19, 2023 at 12:49 PM IST

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