Huawei slips to third most popular smartphone brand in GCC

Published: Updated:

Chinese technology firm Huawei dropped from the second to third most popular smartphone brand in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for the first time since Q3 2018, according to data released by technology and consulting firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

Huawei’s market percentage shrunk to 17 percent in Q3 2019, a 4 percent drop from its 21 percent share in Q2 2019. This places the Chinese brand below Apple’s 18 percent, and behind market leader Samsung’s 45.7 percent.

This represents a significant change from figures at the beginning of the year which, for Q1 2019, when Huawei held a 25.7 percent market share.

“[Huawei’s] phenomenal growth trajectory took a turn for the worse in Q2 2019, when its share dropped to 21.2% percent due to its well-documented problems in the US and the huge success of Samsung’s A series across the region,” says Nabila Popal, a senior research manager at IDC.

“As a result, Samsung’s share, which had slumped to a low of 29.2 percent in Q4 2018 as Huawei’s march gathered pace, is now back above the 45 percent mark,” added Popal.

IDC’s research also showed that the GCC smartphone market saw a 20.2 percent unit growth year-on-year for Q3 2019, with shipments totaling 4.84 million units worth $1.62 billion.

GCC quarter-on-quarter growth was more muted at only 2.2 percent, with the UAE witnessing the largest increase (4.4 percent), followed by Oman (3.4 percent), and Saudi Arabia (1.9 percent).

Saudi Arabia also saw year-on-year growth of 34.9 percent, while the UAE also experienced a 21.4 percent increase.

“The UAE posted strong quarterly and annual growth, spurred by the timing of new releases from several leading vendors [e.g., Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi] across various different price segments … Saudi Arabia’s quarterly growth was more modest as the market stabilizes after consecutive quarters of rampant quarter-on-quarter growth,” said Akash Balachandran, a senior research analyst at IDC.