Smartphone Usage Skyrockets across the Middle East


We live in an increasingly interconnected world today. This statement is supported by evidence of rising use of smartphones across the world that keeps us connected every minute of the day. All over the world, particularly Middle East is witnessing the rise of smartphone era where the usage percentage is fast catching up with the West.

The Middle East and Africa Region (MENA) is one of the most vibrant and fast growing mobile markets. According to estimates, over 606 million in the Middle East and Africa will own a smartphone and by the year 2019, the number will surpass 789 million.

This is despite the fact that the Asia Pacific region has the largest mobile phone population crossing over 2.5 billion, but the MENA region comes only second in terms of mobile phone owners where more than 500 million people are expected to use a mobile phone, which is a significant number, more than Western Europe or North America.

There have been studies, which state that over 40% of the smartphone users in Middle East and Africa Region are using the smart features of their phones to connect to internet for watching videos, downloading apps and playing online games. All these activities have given rise to mobile app development services surging ahead in this region and companies hiring Best Mobile App Development Companies in Middle East for their mobile app development projects.

Mobile Data

  • According to eMarketer's Global Media Intelligence Report, smartphone usage in the Middle East has jumped since the past 2-3 years.
  • Further, over 75% of Saudi Arabia population has used an advanced handset.
  • In UAE, the figure is over 90% and in Kuwait, the mobile usage rose from 49% to 86%.
  • Smartphone usage is expected to increase over 65% by 2019
  • By the year 2020, the economic impact of smartphone in the Middle East will lead to over 20% of the labor market becoming engaged with internet and technology industries.

Smartphone usage in the Middle East and Africa is surging ahead more rapidly than ever than previous projections. By the year 2019, the number of citizens with a smartphone is expected to reach 174 million.

Here two categories of users are major drivers of smartphone usage. These users have basic feature phones and there are other users who are relatively new. These belong to the younger and affluent generation who are able to buy smartphones. It is important to note that tablets are also proliferating the market in this industry although cost is a major factor.

Internet Usage 

The number of people using the internet on their smartphones is also climbing up. While the usage of internet is increasing in the developing nations, most people who have internet access are committed users. Over three-fourth of adult internet users across the Middle East region have said that they use the internet at least once a day with a major chunk of them using the web several times in a day.

Furthermore, over 40% of the users log onto social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter. Overall internet usage in emerging and developing countries is rising as citizens have rising income levels and education levels.

In nearly every country, the millennial population is more likely to be internet and smartphone users as compared to the non-millennial ones.  The age group of 18-34 and 35 above experience a gap in being technology savvy. This is a fact that is relevant to all age groups in developing as well as developed nations.


The Middle East and North Africa region is experiencing astounding growth in the sales and market penetration of smartphones. With the number of millennial users rising each year, the download of apps, games and internet usage will continue to surge ahead and mobile app development services will increase with top mobile app development firms in Middle East gaining ground.

Rise in smartphone usage is a major contributing factor for tech industry in the Middle East that is experiencing strategic growth in terms of infrastructure and mobile broadband. It will be fascinating to witness how this growth rate progresses in future with more competition and expansive user base.