GCC mobile market rebounds after long decline
After suffering a decline for the first three quarters of 2016, the GCC mobile phone market has begun to improve according to the latest figures announced by International Data Corporation (IDC). The firm’s Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker shows that the region saw the shipment of 5.98 million units in Q4 2016, up 7.7 percent on the previous quarter.
"While the rate of Q-o-Q growth varied from country to country in Q4 2016, Qatar was the only member of the GCC to post a decline (-2.2%)," says Isaac T. Ngatia, a senior research analyst at IDC Middle East and Africa. "Saudi Arabia, which had suffered the worst declines in previous quarters, saw a reversal of fortunes in Q4 2016 by posting the region's highest Q-o-Q increase at 11.9%. The market is beginning to stabilize following the Saudization of the mobile industry and the challenging macroeconomic climate that compounded the effects of its introduction."
"The UAE, which is the GCC's second-largest market, also saw a considerable improvement in Q4 2016, with shipments up by about 5% Q-o-Q for the final three months of 2016," continues Ngatia. "Q4 is traditionally the best-performing quarter of the year due to spending splurges in line with customary end-of-year and New Year festivities. As such, only time will tell whether temporary seasonal factors were the main drivers of the market's turnaround in Q4 2016."
IDC’s research shows that Samsung continued to lead the GCC smartphone market in Q4 2016, with a 35 percent share. Apple was the market’s biggest gainer in Q4 2016, recording a growth of 20 percent to secure 23 percent share of the GCC smartphone market.
"Apple registered a solid quarter, which can be attributed to the success of its iPhone 7 and the gap created in the market by the Samsung Note 7 recall," says Nabila Popal, a senior research manager at IDC Middle East and Africa. "While the majority of Note 7 customers opted to stay within the Samsung family, Apple benefited from the fact that there are limited Android alternatives occupying the same price band as the Note 7, experiencing a clear boost in iPhone 7 sales as a result."
Another interesting development was the drop in the average sales price of Android devices. Only a quarter of Android smartphone shipments to the GCC in 2016 were of phones priced above $450, a figure which was at 50 percent three years earlier.
International Data Corporation is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services and events for the information technology, telecommunications and consumer technology markets.
Grupo Espinosa: 70 years of constant evolution
Founded in 1952, Grupo Espinosa has been relentlessly supporting the publishing industry with producing more than 100 million copies every year – whether its books, magazines, catalogues or single-order custom prints. No project is big or small for Grupo Espinosa, as the facility can scale up on demand and their turnaround times are highly competitive. Grupo Espinosa works with on-demand digital press or offset press, in paperback with glued softcover binding, PUR softcover binding, stitched paperback binding, binder’s board, hardcover, saddle stitched, Spiral or Wire-O. Equipped with the experience needed for a product to leave the plant ready for distribution, Grupo Espinosa delivers anywhere inside or outside Mexico. Traditionally starting off as a black and white printing press, Grupo Espinosa has experienced transformation first hand – from colour to digital offset printing. Currently, Grupo Espinosa is also looking at making capital investments into audio books to match with the increasing demand.
So how did a seemingly local operation in Latin America become a world-renowned printing facility trusted by hundreds of clients? As Rogelio Tirado, CFO of Grupo Espinosa for the last six years says “It all comes down to our market experience and our dedication to quality”. With nearly 70 years behind them, and located in Mexico City, Grupo Espinosa has two major locations – one spanning 75,000 square metres and the other about 45,000 square metres. Both locations are controlled by a single ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system ensuring speed, consistency and quality of work. Tirado says this isn’t their only competitive advantage. He adds “Our competitive advantage is the relationship we have with customers and the trust they put in us with their intellectual property”. Speaking of trust, global publishing giant Macmillan Education exclusively partners with Grupo Espinosa for their Latin America operations, as part of Macmillan’s decentralized hub strategy. Having a facility that offered the full spectrum of service – from storing digital content to printing and distributing – was one of the major requirements for Macmillan, and Grupo Espinosa was recognized as the leading printing hub for providing this 360 infrastructure. Another factor that has led to success for Grupo Espinosa is the absolute focus on quality and time. The staff are committed to providing the best quality in the best possible time, without causing wastage of resources. Sustainability is a huge factor playing into Grupo Espinosa’s operations, and they’ve created a healthy environment with the sustainable use of paper and energy resources as well as keeping their employees – most of them associated with the organisation for over 10 years – happy. He adds, “In order to be truly successful, you need to be good to the environment, employees, suppliers, and your customers. But most importantly, you need to be sustainable, you need to have proper working conditions, pay proper salaries, proper prices for paper, source the paper from sustainable sources, pay your taxes, basically be a good global corporate citizen and that's probably one of the biggest achievements that we have.”