MEA Smartphone Shipments Drop 12% YoY in 2022 to Reach Lowest Level Since 2015

  • MEA smartphone shipments retreated 18.4% YoY in Q4 2022 and 12.1% YoY in 2022.
  • At 148 million units, 2022 shipments were the lowest since 2015.
  • Samsung performed resiliently in 2022, with shipments and market share increasing YoY.
  • Transsion Group’s 2022 shipments dropped 13% YoY. This was mainly due to a 27% drop of itel.
  • Xiaomi saw a flat year but much better performance than in 2021.
  • 5G shipments increased 47% YoY to account for 18% of the overall shipments.

London, Boston, Toronto, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – February 23, 2023

Smartphone shipments in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region fell 12.1% YoY in 2022 to 148 million units, the lowest shipment level since 2015, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor Service. After a bright start to the year, the rise in energy and agricultural goods prices caused by the Ukraine war dampened consumer sentiment in the region, with the macroeconomic situation gradually worsening as the year went on.

Looking at the fourth quarter, smartphone shipments dropped 18.4% YoY, a slightly better reading than the record low of the 20.4% drop recorded in Q3 2022. Consumer sentiment may have picked up marginally as the inflationary pressure and foreign currency headwinds receded. Still, the market environment remained very challenging.

Commenting on the market’s performance, Senior Analyst Yang Wang said, “The MEA smartphone market closed the year with another tough quarter. Much of the difficulties, such as high inflation rates, energy and food prices, and depreciating domestic currencies against the US dollar, were caused by factors outside of the control of market participants. With the drop in consumer sentiment, OEMs were put under enormous pressure and had to take drastic measures such as destocking, cutting marketing and channel spending, and taking a very careful approach to pricing.”

Source: Counterpoint Research Market Monitor, Q4 2022
Notes: Xiaomi includes POCO and Redmi; OPPO includes OnePlus; Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Market leader Samsung saw YoY volume and market share growth in 2022, a terrific performance given the market realities. This was due to the success of the Galaxy A series in capturing the market for aspirational upgraders, particularly those that may be getting their first 5G devices. The company also benefitted from a significantly improved supply chain position, giving distributors clarity and certainty in a time of turbulence.

Transsion Group brands continued to take the MEA region’s biggest share of smartphone shipments, with an unchanged market share of 32%. However, the company endured a volatile year, with TECNO and itel both shedding shipment volumes in double digits due to exposure to the price-sensitive entry segment, while Infinix’s strong momentum from the first half of 2022 retreated towards the end of the year. Aggressive destocking initiatives mostly bore fruit, as TECNO and Infinix returned to launching higher-end devices during the shopping season.

Xiaomi finished the year at the third spot among OEMs in the MEA region. It was a relatively successful year for the company with volume and market share gains. Supply issues largely disappeared, and the company saw good traction in the mid-range segment, particularly for the Redmi Note 11 and Redmi 10 series. Xiaomi is expected to take the competition to Samsung’s A series as it broadens the availability of affordable 5G devices across the region.

Apple’s shipments dropped YoY, but the brand saw its market share increase due to broadened distribution in the region and the success of the iPhone 13 series. The iPhone 14 series launch has not been as successful as the iPhone 13 series. However, sales have concentrated towards the higher-end iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models, thus replicating Apple’s value gains seen in other more developed markets.


Source: Counterpoint Research Market Monitor, Q4 2022

One of the spotlights in the MEA smartphone market in 2022 was the growth of the 5G segment. 5G smartphone shipments grew 47% to reach an 18% share of the overall shipments against our forecast of 16.5% at the beginning of 2022. While 5G networks are only available in the GCC countries and certain pockets of Africa’s urban areas, the enthusiasm for 5G devices has been noted across the largest markets. Samsung, having overtaken Apple as the biggest 5G OEM in the region, is well positioned to grow further with its large portfolio of mid-range 5G A-series devices. Xiaomi is also seeing momentum for its mid-range devices, and we are likely to see Transsion brands TECNO and Infinix make a serious play in the 5G market in 2023. While globally 5G smartphone prices are coming down due to the availability of more affordable models, the proliferation of 5G devices in MEA will actually boost the average selling price (ASP) in the region, as customers upgrade to more sophisticated devices. This, in turn, is likely to increase the dollar value of the MEA smartphone market, despite little to no growth in volume expected in 2023.

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Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

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