Smartphone shipments in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region experienced a decline of 11% year-on-year and 3% quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter of 2023, reaching the lowest Q1 shipment level since 2016, according to Counterpoint.

This was due to continued economic challenges, including high inflation rates, depreciation of local currencies, and weak consumer sentiment. As a result, smartphone original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) focused on inventory correction, channel efficiency, and cost-cutting measures.

Despite the overall negative outlook, there were positive signs of stabilization towards the end of the quarter. Many OEMs observed encouraging sell-out numbers, driven by the Ramadan and Easter sales promotions.

Apple's iPhone 14 series, particularly the higher-priced Pro and Pro Max models, gained significant popularity, while Samsung's new 5G models in the A series also performed well. Mid-range OEMs like Xiaomi, TECNO, Infinix, HMD Nokia, and realme achieved above-average market performance in their respective segments.

The Techloy chart below shows how the market performed in Q1 2023.