How does the Arab world's mobile market compare to the rest of the world? [Infographic]

by Maya Rahal, October 15, 2013

Smartphones are undoubtedly the future of the internet. Around the globe, smartphone penetration has been increasing by 10% each year since 2011 and today over 56% of the world’s population now owns a smartphone. In the Arab world smartphones will soon outsell laptops as most youth polled in a recent survey say they would prefer a smartphone to any other device if they had to choose only one.

According to the infographic below, by the end of 2013 there will be more mobile devices on Earth than people. This year alone, more than two billion smartphone devices will be shipped worldwide.

With the rise of low-cost smartphones, carriers in the Arab world are also beginning to bring down the cost of connectivity to ensure users have affordable plans to help bring the next wave of users online. Currently, smartphone penetration rates are estimated to be around 50% in Jordan26% in Egypt, and 16% in Morocco (the global average rate is around 51%).

Produced by AF-studio.pl and Super Monitoring, the infographic further reveals the state of mobile growth on a global level. Mobile traffic now accounts for 15% of all internet traffic, with over 1.2 billion people now accessing the web from their mobile devices; mobile web searches makes up one quarter of all searches. Likewise, 50% of global web users now use mobile as either their primary or exclusive means of going online.

So where do they spend all that time? When it comes to time spent on iOS and Android-connected devices, users spend it on Facebook just as much as they do browsing the web, at 18% each. These activities follow playing games, which takes up about 32% of the average global smartphone user’s time.

As far as smartphone operating systems, on both a global and a regional scale, Android continues to dominate, followed by iOS and Symbian. In the region, Android is also in the top slot at 40% market share, followed by iOS (35%), Blackberry (15%), and Windows (10%), perhaps due to the lower cost of Android phones.

Although smartphones are overtaking feature phones globally, feature phones still play a big role in mobile trends. In Egypt in particular, feature phones still lead over smartphones, but smartphones are definitely gaining traction. According to the infographic, Samsung is the top global mobile phone vendor, followed by Apple and Nokia, but consumers show the highest satisfaction rate for Apple phones.

Building on this growth in mobile usage, mobile advertising offers a huge and growing opportunity; 54% of smartphone users are seeing mobile ads inside apps, 40% on mobile search engines, 27% on a retailer’s mobile website, and 23% on a video website. And customers are responding fairly well; 75% of say that mobile ads have introduced them to something new and 46% say ads have pushed them to buy something via mobile. Surprisingly, 67% of people said that they visited the website of an advertiser after seeing a mobile ad, which is definitely empowering m-commerce as well.

Across the globe, 80% of consumers plan to conduct mobile commerce in the next 12 months. In the Arab world in particular, m-commerce transactions are expected to grow from 1.3 billion this year to 3 billion by 2015. The increasing demand for affordable smartphones is only adding to the mobile ads and m-commerce opportunity. People are so engaged with their smartphones that 44% of mobile users sleep with their phone by their side do that they don’t miss any notifications.

Check out the full findings below or click on the infographic for a larger image.