Mobile Majority: Smartphone Penetration Hits 78% in the UAE

Mobile Majority: Smartphone Penetration Hits 78% in the UAE


Mobile phones have become central to consumers’ lives—so much in fact that many users in the MENAP (Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan) region never shut their devices off. But yesterday’s devices aren’t able to keep up with the demands of today’s digital consumer, and global smartphones penetration rates are steadily climbing as a result.

With 78 percent smartphone penetration, UAE has easily one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the MENAP region. In fact, 81 percent of mobile owners age 16-34 now own smartphones, and penetration is rising steadily among other age groups as well.

But how do UAE consumers choose their smartphones? What features and functions are important to them? The answer is simple: brands speak louder than words.

Brand name and image are the key motivators for smartphone selection in UAE, as 35 percent smartphone owners stated that their choice of smartphone selection criteria was driven by the brand itself.

The majority of smartphones used in the UAE were made by Samsung (35%). Apple smartphones are used by 24 percent of smartphone owners in the UAE, followed by Blackberry, which represents 21 percent of the smartphone market. Meanwhile, Nokia’s market share makes up only 16 percent of smartphones in the UAE.

Nielsen Smartphone Insights is a syndicated survey providing detailed understanding of the smartphone and feature phone market in the MENAP region. The fieldwork for UAE was conducted in the first-quarter of 2014. It was conducted through face-to-face interviews. A total of 1,505 contacts were made to know the incidence of smartphone use. The final sample included 1,211 smartphone users and 342 non-smartphone users.