Middle East & Africa Sees Huge Increase in Demand for Wearable Technology

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The Middle East and Africa (MEA) wearable devices market saw tremendous year-on-year unit growth of 144.43% in the second quarter of 2019, according to the latest insights from International Data Corporation (IDC). The global technology research and consulting services firm's recently updated Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker shows that 1.96 million units worth $278.04 million. were shipped to the region in Q2 2019 as the market's leading vendors continued to drive sales with the launch of new products and promotional campaigns.

"The huge growth experienced in Q2 2019 was driven by the proliferation of watches, ear-worn devices, and wristbands, with particularly rapid adoption seen for healthcare purposes," says Ayse Kaptanoglu, a research manager at IDC. "Numerous new use cases are beginning to gain traction and end users are increasingly now able to see the real health and fitness benefits that wearables can provide. Heart rate sensors, GPS tracking, and pedometers are among the most attractive functionalities spurring demand in the market."

In terms of vendor rankings, the top three players in the MEA wearables market—Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi—collectively accounted for 61.0% share of the market's unit shipments in Q2 2019. This is up 15.7 points on the corresponding period of last year, with both Apple and Xiaomi making considerable gains as Samsung faltered.


Increasing demand for fitness and sports devices, an increase in healthcare awareness among consumers, and the launch of new products from many vendors have all combined to drive the growth of the wearables market for both wristbands and smartwatches. IDC believes that improved internet connectivity is the key driver of growth for the smartwatch segment, as well as the increase in SIM card usage that enables end users to transform their smartwatches into mobile phones.

So-called 'hearables' (i.e., ear-worn devices) were among the fastest growing categories in the market during the second quarter of this year, with IDC's research showing that their share of overall wearables shipments has grown from 16.0% in Q2 2018 to 36.5% in Q2 2019. This growth was spurred by the launch of attractive new products and a growing propensity among consumers to shift from wired headphones to wireless headphones.

"Despite the ongoing economic turbulence that is impacting some countries across MEA, rapid advancements in hearable technology will trigger further demand for this technology particularly among the region's growing young population," says Kaptanoglu. "While the overall wearables market will continue to grow on the back of this trend, the true growth potential of the region's wearables market will be restricted by issues such as high costs and rising prices, limited LTE connectivity in most MEA countries, and the rapid discharge of batteries in these devices."

About IDC Trackers

IDC Tracker products provide accurate and timely market size, vendor share, and forecasts for hundreds of technology markets from more than 100 countries around the globe. Using proprietary tools and research processes, IDC's Trackers are updated on a semiannual, quarterly, and monthly basis. Tracker results are delivered to clients in user-friendly excel deliverables and on-line query tools. The IDC Tracker Charts app allows users to view data charts from the most recent IDC Tracker products on their iPhone and iPad. The IDC Tracker Chart app is also available for Android Phones and Android Tablets.

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC's analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. 

IDC in the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey

For the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey region, IDC retains a coordinated network of offices in Riyadh, Nairobi, Lagos, Johannesburg, Cairo, and Istanbul, with a regional center in Dubai. Our coverage couples local insight with an international perspective to provide a comprehensive understanding of markets in these dynamic regions. Our market intelligence services are unparalleled in depth, consistency, scope, and accuracy. IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey currently fields over 130 analysts, consultants, and conference associates across the region. 



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