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MEA Smartphone Buyers Seek Affordable Devices

1/06/2015 by Richard White


Phone buyers in the Middle East and Africa are increasingly prepared to forego the latest technological innovations in the name of affordability, new data reveals.

The findings from market watcher International Data Corporation (IDC) show an 83% rise in overall smartphone sales in the region last year.

As phone manufacturer Fly points out, the growth was driven, in part, by the lower end of the market, with the proportion of devices priced under US$100 climbing from just 5% in 2013, to one in five, or 20%, of all smartphones sold in 2014.

Nitin Sood, managing director at Fly MEA, suggested the findings show that customers are not as hung-up on high-end devices as many might assume, adding that the shift is a product of vanishing brand loyalty.

He said: "Driving this market is the emergence of the digital adult – users who are tech-savvy, want to get the most out of their smartphones and are looking for the best specifications, but are brand agnostic about the devices they choose."

Sood added that these 'digital adults' are prepared to take a punt on less established brands if the model in question is best suited to their needs.

"They're not afraid to try out new models and technologies, and are likely to be very influential on blogs and social media – so they are a very important testing ground for new products," he explained.

Meanwhile, their enthusiasm to try out new technology is pushing the region's smartphone market toward shorter product lifecycles and asking it to come up with new solutions, such as the LTE networking standard.

Middle East LTE subscriptions increased some 174% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2014, according to researcher Ovum, as a result of more operators adding LTE networks.


smartphone, MEA, Devices, Telecoms & Internet

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