Samsung And Apple Gain Ground In Handset Market

Market data published by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the UAE shows that handset vendors Samsung and Apple gained market shares in terms of the number of handsets registered on the country's mobile networks in Q114 compared to the same period a year earlier. The two vendors also dominate the smartphone segment, which now accounts for 52% of total handsets, due to the popularity of their respective flagship devices - the iPhone 5 for Apple and the Galaxy SIII for Samsung. Samsung saw the biggest increase in market share by volume, from 10.7% in Q113 to 19.3% in Q114. We attribute this to the vendor's wider product range compared to Apple, with devices across multiple price points.

Although Nokia is still the dominant brand with a 50.2% share of the overall handset market, we expect the company to be concerned about its weak performance in the high-margin smartphone segment where iOS and Android-based devices are enjoying the strongest growth. According to the regulator's data, Android was the major outperformer in the 12 months to March 2014, nearly tripling its share of the market to 25%. Nokia will hope to get some respite in the smartphone segment through its partnership with Microsoft, which has taken steps in recent months to improve the competitiveness of the Windows Mobile OS, such as the launch of universal apps which allow developers to build apps that work on Windows 8.1 tablets as well as Windows Phone 8.1 devices, and the offer of free Microsoft Office 365 for one year. Microsoft, which acquired Nokia in April, has also unveiled its first Android-powered Nokia device to tap into the growth potential of the Android OS.

BlackBerry is now the fourth most popular brand in the UAE with a market share of 8.2%, down 2.5pps y-o-y. BlackBerry accounted for more than 40% of the smartphone market in 2011, but has since lost its lustre owing to strong competition from rival platforms. According to the TRA, BlackBerry operating systems accounted for less than 20% of the smartphone market in the UAE as of March 2014.

Samsung Winning Popularity Battle
Market Shares Of Handset Brands In The UAE (%)

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Related sectors of this article: Consumer Electronics
Geography: United Arab Emirates

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