The mobile handset market in the Middle East and Africa grew by almost 26% last year, with shipments surpassing 40 million units across the region. According to a new IDC study, sales were highest in the Middle East, reflecting the region's more advanced level of economic development compared to most of Africa.
Handset sales will rise strongly, reaching close to 50 million this year and expanding consistently through 2008 as shipments in many underdeveloped markets surge.
As the largest single market in the Middle East and Africa, Turkey accounted for about one-fifth of all handset shipments in 2003. The second and third largest markets, South Africa and Morocco, are also showing signs of saturation and will exhibit only low to moderate levels of growth in the next few years.
By contrast, demand is taking off in several of the region's other large developing nations, including Iran, and also in many smaller ones. "There is something of a changing of the guard going on in the mobile business of the Middle East and Africa," said Simon Baker, author of the study and Research Manager for Mobile Phones, IDC CEMA. "A couple years ago it was largely a matter of looking at Turkey and South Africa and then totting up the smaller countries together. Today many states in Africa and most in the Middle East are no longer pioneer territory, but emerging markets beginning to notch up significant growth as they move into the rapid expansion phase of the typical 'S' curve."
In the shorter term, the Middle East will remain more important than Africa. With a higher level of urbanization, a more developed infrastructure, and a higher standard of living in general, development will be more rapid. Cairo and Tehran will become key city markets. (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )