As mobile phone companies go aggressive to grab Qatar’s market share in the new year, the local electronic market is witnessing a perceptible slow down. The sales of electronic gadgets and other items, especially the high-end smartphones, have witnessed a decline over the last few months in Qatar compared to the same period a year ago.
Enquiries with several dealers of some major smartphone brands have revealed that there is not one but a combination of factors responsible for the dip in the demand, which include absence of major technological innovations in the latest smartphones; stiff competition from relatively inexpensive Chinese brands with similar features; and rapidly changing consumer behaviour. Aiming at boosting the declining sales, most outlets are offering heavy discounts and attractive combo-offers, even on flagship smartphones that were sold like hotcakes immediately after their launch.
For instance, smartphones such as Samsung’s Galaxy S6, priced at QR3,099 with 32 GB and 4G specifications (equipped with all the other latest features like Lollipop OS, 3GB RAM and 16MP camera), are being sold at just about QR1,999, nearly at a massive discount of over 35 percent at the market retail price. “Compared to last year, I do not see any big growth in demand of consumer electronics items and mobile phones, including smarphones and tablets, as there are not much innovations in the products across all the leading brands,” a top official of a Korean electronics giant told The Peninsula.
He said: “In the rapidly changing market scenario, smartphones have also become like perishable items. They have very short life-span in markets in terms of excitement, and manufacturers are faced with the challenge to clear their stocks quickly before the arrival of a next generation phone.”
He also said that other important factor for falling demand is the change in the trend of customers. “People, unlike before, no longer prefer to shift from one phone to another just for small changes, as there are no major innovations taking place in any next generation smartphones.”
“Qatar’s smartphone market is different from other markets. First, the mobile penetration here is very high. A significant percentage of population in Qatar already keeps more than one smartphones. Secondly, a lot of tech-savvy customers look for value addition and innovation in their new phones. Changing mobile phones frequently is no longer a popular thing here to do.”
He also added that more or less all high-end smartphones carry identical features with very negligible differences. So there is a stiff competition among the players. In addition, some Chinese brands such as Huawei, Xiaomi, Lenovo and ZTE, with similar features and specifications, are giving tough time to leading brands.
Samsung’s global market share during Q3, 2015 declined to 24.6 percent from 26.7 in Q2, 2015, but the Korean electronics giant is still No 1 in terms of the global smartphone brand by shipment followed by Apple. Apple’s global market share in smartphone has also declined to 13.7% in Q3, 2015 from 15.4% in Q2 2015, according to available data.
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