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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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