The Gulf’s mobile phone market remained flat in the second quarter of this year, but Apple will be hoping that sales of its new iPhones will help it overtake its rival Samsung and give the market a new lease of life.
The new iPhone 8, launched last week, is already available for sale online in the United Arab Emirates, with prices starting from 2,849 UAE dirhams ($775.58) and units set to appear in stores from September 23.
Figures from the International Data Corporation (IDC) showed that the mobile phone market in the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries remained relatively flat in second quarter of 2017.
Overall shipments for the quarter totaled 6.4 million units, representing a minor decline of 1 percent quarter-on-quarter. While the UAE rose 1.6 percent quarter-on-quarter, Saudi Arabia, the region’s other big market, slumped 4.2 percent.
Samsung continued to lead the GCC smartphone market, holding 38.1 percent of unit sales. Apple is in second spot with a 20.9 percent share, but it will be hoping its new iPhones, the 8 and X, will help it gain some ground.
However, it should warning from the regional launch of Samsung’s flagship S8 and S8+ models, which did not live up to expectations and saw its average selling price (ASP) fall sharply over a short period.
One ray of light is the fact that mobile data revenues have been growing steadily both globally and in the Arab World. Some of the operators in developed countries reported mobile data contribution percentages of over 50 percent in 2016, according to a report by the Arab Advisors Group.