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Samsung, Apple dominate smartphone market in UAE, but Nokia has the pulse

Nokia is not yet a serious player in the UAE market yet, but it is making an entry with 6 new phones that reflect a global and UAE survey around price and functionality preferences. Who's leading the market?

We touch our phones 142 times a day, and spend 18 hours and 12 minutes a week looking at the screen, on average 72% of UAE respondents say that knowing their phone is secure is very important to them Around 5.38 million mobile phones were sold in the GCC in Q4, 2020, a growth of 8.2% QoQ from 2019

Nokia is not yet a serious player in the UAE market yet, but it is making an entry with 6 new phones that reflect a global and UAE survey around price and functionality preferences.

Six new Nokia phones were announced on April 8 as the Finnish phone maker aims to make smartphones more affordable and long-lasting to help encourage users around the world to keep their phones longer.

A global trend report that included the UAE was conducted by Fly Research and showed 84% of respondents claiming to ‘love’ their phones and 71% wanting phones that can stand the test of time. 

According to the findings, mobile phone usage globally has risen by 90% over the last 10 years. 

Research shows that we touch our phones an average of 142 times a day, and spending 18 hours and 12 minutes a week looking at the screen. 

The top five ways we use our phones globally:

  • Browsing the internet 
  • Browsing social media
  • Listening to music 
  • Gaming
  • Messaging 

In the UAE, 78% of the respondents claimed they spend more than 30 minutes looking at their phone’s screen each day. Almost three-quarters (72%) said they have used their phones for shopping. The share of those who use smartphones for fitness-related activities, or for banking stood at 69%, as did the share of those who use them for transactions.   

72% of UAE respondents say that knowing their phone is secure is very important to them. Over half (60%) admit to being worried about being scammed, with a surprising 47% of Gen Zers (18-24-year-olds) saying they have already been scammed. 

However, almost half of the respondents (45%) do not know if their phone has the latest security updates or not, leaving them vulnerable to threats and hackers. 

When it comes to how long UAE respondents keep hold of their phones, on average, they wait up to 18 months before swapping them in. As many as 71% admit that they would like to keep their phone for longer, and 77% would do so if the devices maintained their performance over time. 

Some 57% actively seek out companies that offer a sustainable offering when making purchases, such as packaging and products. Additionally, over half of the respondents in the UAE (52%) are concerned about the excessive electronic waste produced, while 61% of users make an effort to buy products that help the environment. 

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In love with noble numbers 

People are not just in love with their mobiles, they are as well in love with special numbers and are willing to pay millions for them.

The ‘Most Noble Numbers’ is the second charity auction to raise funds for the 100 Million Meals campaign

Mobile number 056-9999999 was sold for AED1 million ($817,000), while 056-5555556 went for AED260,000 ($70,845).

The 100 Million Meals campaign reached its target, raising AED100 mn ($27.25 mn) from 185,000 donors in just 10 days, and continues on.

Phone makers’ market share

Around 5.38 million mobile phones were sold in the GCC in Q4, 2020, a growth of 8.2% QoQ from 2019, and the UAE accounted for 26%, or 1.4 million, of regional mobile phone sales in the last quarter of 2020.

According to newly released research from International Data Corporation (IDC), the UAE’s mobile phone sales grew on the back of the strong performance of Apple’s new releases and mid-range models from brands like Samsung, Oppo, and Vivo.

The Q4 saw most GCC countries attempting to return to some state of normality and although consumer spending remained focused on essentials, there was a release of pent-up demand, particularly for iOS devices.

Samsung, Apple, and Chinese mass-market brand Xiaomi are the most popular mobile phone brands and dominate the UAE and GCC mobile phone markets.

Data showed that Samsung controls 42% of the market in Q4 2020, followed by Apple (23%), Xiaomi (11%), Huawei ( 8%), and others (16%). 

Smartphone shipments grew 2.3% QoQ to 4.26 million units and the market totaled $1.62 billion in Q4 2020, up 39.5% from the previous quarter.