Emarketer and Starcom Mediavest Group on the State of the Global Media Landscape
emarketer, in collaboration with Starcom Mediavest Group (SMG), has released its annual “Global Media Intelligence (GMI) Report” on key digital trends worldwide. This is the fifth year running that emarketer and SMG have worked together to develop this publication.
The report is emarketer’s largest, most comprehensive snapshot of the current state of media consumption worldwide, covering six major regions—asia-pacific, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, Middle East and Africa, North America, and Western Europe—and 48 countries.
“The 2015 Global Media Intelligence Report shows that mobile continues to penetrate the global market, with 61.1% of the global population using mobile phones in 2015. That number is expected to increase to 67.1% by 2019,” said Kate Sirkin, executive vice president and global director of audience and measurement at SMG. “As mobile usage increases globally, so does the need for data and precision marketing to fuel advertisers’ ability to get closer to the point of purchase through e- and m-commerce.”
With regards to the Middle East & Africa (MEA) region, which has suffered setbacks in the past year, as civil unrest, escalating violence, political instability and medical crises afflicted the region, here are some highlights from the report. One of the stand-out findings was that the region is among the fastest-growing and largest mobile markets, with approximately 606 million people, or roughly 43% of its entire population, owning at least one phone in 2015. Smartphone usage is also rapidly climbing in the region.
MEA, the world’s second-largest mobile phone market
The Middle East and Africa (MEA) is one of the world’s most vibrant and fast-growing mobile markets—and one of the largest. Only Asia-pacific can boast more mobile phone users. emarketer estimates that just over 606 million people in the Middle East and Africa will have at least one mobile phone this year, and the total will pass 789 million in 2019.
Smartphone usage in many Middle Eastern markets jumped again in 2014. According to Ipsos Mediact, 79% of Saudi Arabia’s entire population used an advanced handset last year; in UAE the corresponding figure was 91%, a gain of nearly 20 percentage points in a single year. In Kuwait, penetration rose from 49% to 86% in just two years, Ipsos reported.
Smartphone usage in the Middle East and Africa is climbing more rapidly than emarketer projected a year ago, and the forecasts were revised upward. It is now estimated that the smartphone population in MEA will pass 106 million this year. On the other hand, fewer than 18% of mobile phone users in the region will have such a device. In 2019, that share is expected to reach 22.0%, as the number of residents with a smartphone approaches 174 million.
Two segments of the population are driving smartphone usage: consumers trading up from more basic feature phones, and new subscribers—particularly younger, affluent individuals—entering the market at a time when smartphones are affordable for them. Tablets are also proliferating, though cost is still a barrier for many consumers.