No holding the line in the Middle East

Published December 2nd, 2012 - 08:35 GMT
Smartphone markets in the Middle East are booming
Smartphone markets in the Middle East are booming

Smartphone market share numbers in the Middle East and Africa are going to be distorted in the fourth quarter due to the timing of product introductions like Apple’s iPhone 5 and Windows Phone 8.

Apple will make a strong comeback in this quarter as the new iPhone 5 is going to be launched in the certain markets of the region. Nokia’s Lumia 920 will not sell in huge volume because of the high price but Lumia 820 is priced reasonably and coupled with HTC’s windows phones will gain market share for Microsoft,” Annette Zimmermann, Principal Analyst at Gartner Deutschland, told Gulf News in an exclusive of interview.

She said RIM and Symbian will lose market share further. Android’s market share will slip as Apple and Microsoft will take some market share from Google’s operating system.

In the third quarter, market grew really fast with smartphones growing seven per cent quarter on quarter.

Nokia still leads the overall market with more than 43 per cent market despite its smartphones market share falling to 10.8 per cent in third quarter from 16 per cent in second quarter.

Samsung grew close to 50 per cent in the smartphone sales while registering 23.4 per cent in the overall sales. Samsung contributes around two third to the growth in Android platform.

RIM held steady at 17.2 per cent in smartphone category.

“Apple lost most of its market share in third quarter as consumers are waiting for iPhone 5 to be launched in the region. Its market share fell from nine per cent in second quarter to two per cent in the third quarter,” she said.

Countries with high income groups like Saudi Arabia and the UAE are waiting for the new Apple to be launched.

“Samsung is also going to be a big contributor for Windows’ growth as they can profit from the Galaxy brand. The big question is can they compete with a good ecosystem of Nokia and that is what Samsung lacks. That is where Samsung needs to work on in the future,” she said.

White box manufacturers sold around four million units in the third quarter.

“RIM, once very strong in the Middle East is losing its market share. But it is gaining market share in Africa. People in Africa still like the qwerty keyboard of BlackBerry despite the world going for touch screens,” she said.

Even launching BBM 10 in the first quarter of next year “will not save RIM as it very late to the market. We are doubtful whether they will stay strong in the Middle East and Africa,” she added.

For the year, around 196 million units are expected to be sold in the region. Out of this around 20 per cent are going to be smartphones.


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