Saturday, July 16, 2011

Only Smartphones for Kuwait!

This new report came out about how 80% of cellphone sales in Kuwait are SMARTPHONES! Before moving to Kuwait, I really didn't know what to expect in terms of wealth status. When I arrived it was intriguing! They have nice malls & the women are very fashionable- but looking at the streets, apartment buildings (except for the huge homes & hotels), food stands- it also looks like a 3rd World Country.  Kuwait is a very wealthy country & you can see it with all the luxury cars driven. So it is NOT surprising that the demand for smartphones is so high.

According to The Arab Times Online:

‘Smartphones’ In Kuwait Take Up 80 Pct Of Market

KUWAIT CITY, July 14, (KUNA): In just two years, smartphones kicked older mobiles off their throne in Kuwait and constitute to around 80 percent of the mobile phones market, so that the older technology slipped from 75 to just 10 percent of all sales, and the shift is most certainly felt by sellers.
One seller told KUNA demand is so much focused on smartphones, specifically manufactured by Apple, Samsung, and Blackberry, that the dealer decided to stop selling other mobiles and focus products and services to this category alone.

Al-Shimmiri added that while popularity of the devices and the applications and programs they used started with youth, smartphones are very quickly catching popularity among those aged 40 and above. “There is so much demand,” he said, “that we cannot keep up, sometimes.” Another seller, Dhyaa Slaiman, said 80 percent of his company’s sales are in the smartphones column. In fact, he explained, the older phones are only bought by customers who only use the regular phone function and nothing else, like Asian workers.
As to reason behind popularity of smartphones, he mentioned availability of free video and audio communication, display and receipt of messages in different media, and most specifically, the video streaming programs. In addition to that, the programs used by the devices are fast becoming less complicated and luring in sometime “unexpected” clientele.

One unexpected category of customers, he said, was the senior clients. More and more grandparents are using smartphones nowadays to communicate with and follow up with what goes on in their grandchildren’s lives. “We notice that clients in this category come to us very regularly to purchase the latest applications and programs for their devices.” When it comes to drop in demand for traditional mobiles, a seller from another company, Ahmad Kamal, said that sales in this category has taken to just above 10 percent since 2009. One reason is the great promotions by producers of smartphones. One specific attraction was the offer by the state’s three mobile service providers to give customers a free smartphone once they subscribe to certain service packages.

The proximity of what could be done on a computer and that possible on the latest smartphone is also a strong allure, he said. This meant that sales of laptops and computers were also affected, he noted,.
Regarding prices, he said that smartphones do not shed much of their price as pre-owned products. If a certain model is sold brand new for KD 200, the used device would sell for KD 145-160, depending on usage and time since first purchase. This compares to a loss of 70 percent of value upon first installation of a regular phone, he said.
The latest specialized reports forecast that 82 percent of mobile users in the Middle East still not using a smartphone would purchase such device within a year. It further forecast 49 percent of current smartphone users would update their phones within the next six months.

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