MEA Smartphone Market Grows 15% YoY in 2021 as Digital Adoption Accelerates

  • MEA smartphone sales grew 15% YoY in 2021, marking the best year ever for the market.
  • Samsung continued to top the market, though its lead was reduced due to supply chain and product availability issues.
  • Transsion brands accounted for 32% of the market. TECNO solidified its second position by capturing a market share of 13%. Its sales increased 48% YoY.
  • New Chinese entrants Xiaomi and OPPO performed well, but their growth slowed in the second half of the year due to supply issues.

London, Boston, Toronto, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – February 8, 2022

Smartphone sales in the MEA (Middle East and Africa) region grew 15% YoY in 2021, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Pulse service. After crossing the post-pandemic phase of pent-up demand, smartphones remained in high demand throughout the year, despite the market facing many difficulties, including macroeconomic worries, supply chain issues and the emergence of new COVID-19 variants. Growth was seen across all areas and consumer groups, underpinning the accelerating adoption of digital services in the region.

MEA Smartphone Unit Sales Share, 2021 vs 2020

Counterpoint Research - MEA Smartphone Unit Sales Share, 2021 vs 2020
Source: Counterpoint Research Market Pulse, Q4 2021 Notes: Xiaomi includes POCO and Redmi; OPPO includes OnePlus; Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding

Commenting on the performance of OEMs, Senior Research Analyst Yang Wang said, “All major brands except Samsung saw annual volume growth of more than 20%. Samsung was hampered throughout the year, having to deal with product availability issues due to factory closures in Southeast Asia and component shortages. However, the company kept its number one position in the MEA after seeing a recovery during the Q4 shopping season. It is expected to face a less dramatic 2022.”

“The Transsion brands, namely TECNO, Infinix and itel, continued to gain strength to record another fantastic year. The three brands together accounted for 32% of the smartphones sold in 2021, up from 24% in the previous year. Mass-market models from TECNO and Infinix have been a big hit, while more pricey models have also been positively received. More importantly, the Transsion brands have found success away from the African home market. Their market share in the Middle East almost doubled in 2021, while sales increased 127%.”

Xiaomi and OPPO started the year strongly due to substantial investments in channel penetration and product availability. However, both were hit hard in the second half of the year by component shortages. While the situation has improved somewhat, the two brands are likely to take a more careful approach in the first half of 2022.”

Smartphone Unit Sales Breakdown Within MEA, 2021 vs 2020

Counterpoint Research - MEA Smartphone Unit Sales Share, 2021 vs 2020
Source: Counterpoint Research Market Pulse, Q4 2021 Notes: Xiaomi includes POCO and Redmi; OPPO includes OnePlus; Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding

While growth was evident across the MEA region, the Middle East did the heavy lifting both in terms of volume and value. Governments in both Africa and the Middle East did generally well in combating the pandemic, but vaccination rates were far higher in the Middle East. Africa was also hamstrung by the emergence of new COVID-19 variants. This meant that the Middle East saw a quicker reopening of the international travel and services sectors. Both Africa and the Middle East benefitted from the commodities boom, but Africa faced higher inflationary pressures due to governments being in worse fiscal positions during the pandemic. As such, smartphone affordability was a bigger issue for Africa, especially in the lower-priced segment, as lower-income consumers struggled more. Despite this, smartphone market fundamentals remain strong across the MEA as consumers continue to adopt digital services.

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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.

 Analyst Contacts:

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