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Middle East & Africa wearables market records strong YoY growth

The Middle East and Africa wearables market experienced strong annual growth in both unit and value terms for the whole of 2022, according to newly published insights from International Data Corporation (IDC). The latest edition of the firm’s Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Devices Tracker shows that shipments to the region in 2022 grew 9.8% year on year (YoY) to total 14.89 million units, with the market’s value increasing 25.4% to $2.86 billion.

The unit growth can largely be attributed to a 13.6% YoY increase in shipments of earwear devices, which accounted for 50.6% of total wearable shipments to the region in 2022. The earwear segment was dominated by Apple (first) and Samsung (second), with these two vendors accounting for a combined unit share of more than 40%. The Chinese vendor Xaiomi placed third.

The overall market’s value growth was primarily driven by a 45.7% YoY increase in the value of smartwatch shipments to the region. These devices accounted for 60.6% share of the total wearable market’s value in 2022. In unit terms, Apple led the smartwatch category in 2022, followed by Samsung in second place and Huawei in third, as the latter continues to update its product portfolio to compensate for the drop-off it has experienced in the mobile phone market.

“Continuous product releases and model updates are driving strong demand for smartwatches across the region,” says Nourhan Abdullah, a senior research analyst at IDC. “On the contrary, the wristband category is still facing many challenges, with consumers increasingly preferring the higher specs of basic watches that are priced in a similar range. Looking ahead, the region is facing many economic challenges that are likely to constrain disposable income and hamper consumer demand for wearable devices, leading to an increase in demand for cheaper entry-level models.”

From a country perspective, Türkiye was the region’s biggest market for wearables in 2022, despite the country experiencing high levels of inflation and economic uncertainty. Saudi Arabia recorded another year of growth in 2022 to rank second, with increased demand for wearable technology — particularly advanced smartwatches — spurring the market.

CT Bureau

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