Wearables market continues to grow in the Middle East and Africa

Research by IDC show that wearables market in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) continued its consistent growth into the first quarter of 2017.
Efe Udin
Jun 23, 2017

Research by a global consulting and Information and communication technology (ICT) firm, International Data Corporation (IDC), shows that the wearables market in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) continued its consistent growth into the first quarter of 2017. IDC data for Q1 2017 reveals that wearables shipment rose to 30.2% year on year (YoY) in the MEA region.

Surprisingly, there were more shipments of smart wearables i.e. devices that support third party applications than basic wearables. While the former had shipments up to 64.9% YoY, the latter only recorded 16.8% YoY shipments. Samsung Gear S3 and Apple Series 1 & 2 are among the wearables of high demand in this region.

From IDC's projections, the MEA wearable market would increase to 20.9% YoY in 2017 with a total of 2.9 million units shipped. The smart wearables are very instrumental to the market growth in the MEA region, with shipments forecasted to increase to 52.0% YoY. The MEA wearable market is presumably growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.2% over the 2016–2021 period and in four years time, 43% of total wearables shipments to the region will be smart wearables.

Nakul Dogra, a senior research analyst for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC MEA said:

"The MEA wearables market is in the midst of a major transformation. Indeed, we are seeing an evolution of the market from fitness bands to smart wearables such as watches, earwear, and clothing". He added, "Fashion-conscious consumers now have a variety of smartwatch options to choose from, with sleek designs, myriad strap options, and trendy interfaces being offered by vendors, without compromising on features like responsiveness, sensor performance, battery life, and smartphone interaction...The next wave of growth for the wearables market will stem from adoption by value-seeking customers and from existing fitness band owners looking to upgrade to smartwatches now that they offer a better value proposition. Wearables vendors should focus on effectively utilizing the data captured by the sensors on these gadgets so that the day-to-day tasks performed by users can be made more straightforward and less time-consuming. The role of third-party application developers will be critical in achieving this, so vendors should look to actively engage with the developer community."

The table below shows the statistics of vendors and their percentage value of shipments to the MEA region. Samsung and Apple lead the line with a combined 25% shipments while Chinese manufacturing rising star, Xiaomi had a fair share of shipments probably due to its cheap products.

Vendor Vendor Share (Units)
Samsung 13.4%
Apple 12.7%
Fitbit 10.9%
i-Life 7.0%
Xiaomi 6.3%
Others 49.8%


IDC has launched a "Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker" which will follow up the consistent changes in the market. It gives vendors the current market statistics which will help them penetrate the wearable market as well as promote their products. This tracker gives a five-year forecast record with information such as product details, vendors, technological trends as well as the historical market. These values are available globally and with respect to individual countries.


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