Portable Consumer Electronics in the Middle East and Africa

April 2017

Growing middle classes and a high population of young people means that there are many untapped consumers in the Middle East and Africa. As the region has one of the highest economic inequality rates in the world, electronic products will need to be marketed in multiple ways to target a wide and varied consumer group. Smartphones are increasingly in demand across all countries, and are the main driver of growth for this industry in the region.

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Consumer demand for portable consumer electronics is strong and increasing rapidly

A Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4% in volume sales of portable consumer electronics over 2011-2016 for is significant. Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Egypt are the main three countries driving this growth for the region. However, there exist many opportunities for future growth in the less developed economies, and there are indications that the growth rate will increase rapidly in the near future.

Smartphones dominate sales

In each of the six countries included in this report, the retail volume of mobile phones is far ahead of other portable consumer electronics, such as portable music players, wearable electronics and imaging devices. Overall demand for mobile phones is increasing strongly, driven by demand for smartphones, while demand for the more simple feature phones is falling rapidly. This is due not only to rising disposable incomes but also because of increased internet availability, decreased internet connection prices and better quality coverage.

Demand for wearables is currently very low, but is starting to rise

For the less essential portable consumer electronics, such as Fitbits, Apple watches and Kindles, there is close to no demand in many of the countries included in this report. Demand for analogue cameras and camcorders is also very low, as digital cameras have quickly become much more affordable and accessible.

Many untapped consumers

The Middle East and Africa is the region with the highest income inequality in the world. This means that there is scope for increases in both economy and premium products. The growth of the middle class in many countries throughout the region, in particular Egypt and South Africa, means that tens of millions of people are now able to buy more expensive and sophisticated portable consumer electronics.


Key findings

Regional Overview

Putting Africa and the Middle East into context
Current market slow down projected to pick up rapidly
Mobile phones stand out from the crowd
Increased and better quality internet coverage is impacting the market
Wearable technology booming; imaging devices left behind
Polarisation between nations is clear, but trends are similar
Smartphones are replacing feature phones as the norm
Specialist electronics retailers dominate the field
Specialist electronics retailers continue to dominate the field

Leading Companies and Brands

The top five companies dominate across the region
The big players dominate the market
Chinese brands are catching up

Forecast Projections

Steady growth forecast in nearly every country
Strong correlation between wealth and growth

Country Snapshots

Saudi Arabia: Market context
Saudi Arabia: Competitive and retail landscape
Egypt: Market context
Egypt: Competitive and retail landscape
South Africa: Market context
South Africa: Competitive and retail landscape
United Arab Emirates (UAE): Market context
United Arab Emirates (UAE ): Competitive and retail landscape
Israel: Market context
Israel: Competitive and retail landscape
Morocco: Market context
Morocco: Competitive and retail landscape


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