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ME consumer tech sales to hit $37bn: study

Dubai, November 27, 2008

The Middle East consumer electronics and technology sector is proving resilient to the global slowdown with retail sales forecast to end 2008 on a $37 billion high, according to a study published today.

The study carried out by GfK-MEMRB Marketing Services, the Dubai-based subsidiary of one of the largest market research companies in the world, also predicts the total market for consumer electronic and technology products to grow to $39-$40 billion in 2009.

The detailed study also shows:

• 65 per cent of sales are of digital consumer technology products such as notebook and laptop computers, cameras and mobile phones.

• Independent retailers hold most of the Middle East market but are heavily challenged by electronic and technology superstores.

• Mobile and smart phones with 2008 sales of $10 billion make up 41 per cent of the entire digital consumer market

'Consumer technology products are clearly proving to be a key component of a higher quality of life for many in the Arabian Gulf,' Franck Thureau, general manager of GfK-MEMRB, told a Consumer Technology Middle East Conference in Dubai.

The conference was called to examine trends in the 119 million regional consumer market and to reveal details of the study which covers Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, the UAE and Yemen.

The digital consumer technology sector alone is expected to see retail sales in excess of $24 billion by the end of 2008. “Whatever the effect of the global slowdown, we are anticipating continued regional growth in this sector for the full year of 2008 at 9.6 per cent compared with last year,” said Thureau.

The study says the main growth contributors will be LCD and plasma TV products with $2.2 billion additional revenue expected. Second comes the personal computer business with added revenue of $600 million and thirdly monitors at $290 million.

The dominant digital product category remains mobile and smart phones with a total of $10 billion in sales expected for 2008 – a full 41 per cent of the entire digital consumer market.

“The fact is that the mobile phone is a status symbol for many consumers in the Middle East and they do not hesitate to change their mobiles every six months or so,” Thureau said. High resolution cameras, MP3, Bluetooth, touch screens and new mobile phone operating systems are all driving growth, he added.

The second digital product category is desktop, laptop and notebook computers with a market value of $5 billion. Third comes LCD TVs with a market of $4 billion in 2008. Growth is exponential in all Middle East countries, notably in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

For the first time in the region, the GfK-MEMRB Marketing Services study reveals details of market structure by channel. In the UAE, for example, independent retailers still lead with a 60 per cent market share in volume for major product categories such as LCD TVs, digital cameras, Mobiles and smart phones.
But big key-account retailers like Sharaf DG, Plug-Ins, Emax, Virgin, CompuMe, Axiom, I2, Cellucom, Carrefour, Geant, Lulu and Panda are making heavy inroads into the market.

“These superstore retailers have a 40 per cent market share of product sales with 250 outlets in the UAE,” Thureau said. “Shopping malls are their base for expansion. For example, the recently-opened Dubai Mall already has 23 news consumer technology outlets with a total of 90 in shopping malls across Dubai alone.”

The GfK-MEMRB study also reveals that Iranians favour bigger screen LCD TVs than the rest of the region.

“Like everywhere else in the world, the leading screen size in the region is 32 inches, representing 45 per cent of the volume,” Thureau said.

“However, in Iran the segment only occupies 33 per cent of the market. Families in Iran want even larger screens and LCD TVs o


Tags: retail | technology | market research | consumer electronics | GfK-MEMRB Marketing Services |

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