(MENAFNEditorial) Proportion of Smartphones Priced Under USD 100 in Middle East and Africa Market Rises From 5% in 2013 to 20% in 2014: IDC
DUBAI, 31 May 2015: Phone buyers in the Middle East and Africa are increasingly turning to the affordable end of the smartphone market, as a growing "digital adult' customer base focuses on buying devices that feature the technology they actually want to use, rather than the latest branded handset.
While overall smartphone sales climbed 83 percent in the region last year, according to market watcher International Data Corporation (IDC), the proportion of devices priced under USD 100 rocketed from just 5 percent in 2013, to one in five, or 20 percent, of all smartphones sold in 2014.
"We are seeing a clear shift in the smartphone market toward the affordable segment, as customers are deciding high-end devices may not be best suited to their needs," said Nitin Sood, Managing Director, Fly MEA, a top European mobile maker that entered the regional market last year. "Driving this market is the emergence of the digital adult â€“ users who are tech-savvy, want to get the most out of their smartphones and are looking for the best specifications, but are brand agnostic about the devices they choose."
Phone buyers in the digital adult segment are likely to be aged between 21 and 45, university students or professionals, require high data usage to incorporate social media trends and online activities, and, crucially, are likely to be early adopters of technology, Sood said.
"Digital adults embrace technology and want to get the most out of their smartphones â€“ be that the fastest processor speeds, the most memory or the best display quality â€“ at competitive prices," Sood said. "They're not afraid to try out new models and technologies, and are likely to be very influential on blogs and social media â€“ so they are a very important testing ground for new products."
The digital adults' eagerness to embrace new technology is pushing the region's smartphone market toward shorter product lifecycles and to adapt new solutions, notably the LTE networking standard, which is fast gaining ground in the region, and 4G technology. Middle East LTE subscriptions jumped 174 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2014, according to researcher Ovum, as more operators add LTE networks.
"There's a sharp transition in the region from 3G to 4G devices â€“ more than 60 percent of the new phones being launched will be LTE-enabled now, and all phones selling above USD 100 will be LTE/4G devices," said Abdul Jabbar Shahnawaz, Vice President, Marketing, Fly MEA. "LTE allows users to stream video at much faster speeds on their smartphones, with faster connections and downloads, making it essential video, downloading and online gaming. This is also having a knock-on effect for screen sizes, with the market increasingly shifting toward five-inch or bigger screens."
Fly's branded offerings have proved hugely successful across all market segments it has entered, from the entry-level market to the premium segment where it launched the Fly Blade IQ4516 â€“ the slimmest phone to go on sale in the region last year.
Fly MEA is targeting six-fold growth in 2015 as the company looks to expand its presence in the lucrative GCC and Africa markets. Having enjoyed phenomenal success in the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Fly is further expanding its presence in Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman, along with Dubai-based partner Eurostar Group.
After its success in Nigeria â€“ Africa's most populous nation â€“ Fly is also looking to expand into Kenya, South Africa, Mozambique and other countries on the continent as well as Egypt in North Africa.
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