TECH SUPPLIER Jul 2018 - Special Study - Doc # CEMA44009418

The UAE's Grey Market for Mobile Phones in 2017

By: Nabila PopalSenior Research Manager, Devices, MEA


In this study, IDC explores the role that the UAE plays in the global trade and movement of grey market mobile phones. It uncovers the total volume of this global trade via the UAE, determines the proportion of grey phones entering the UAE's official phone market, and assesses how much official stock is re-exported out of the UAE to feed the global grey market. It also analyzes the drivers behind this global trade, identifies the key players in this trade, explores where trade is conducted, and highlights the major global sources and destinations of grey devices.

Key findings:

  • 10 million grey market mobile phones were traded in the UAE in 2017.
  • In 2017, 25% of the mobile phones in the captive UAE market were from the grey market.
  • Samsung, Apple, and Huawei are the top three brands in the UAE grey market for mobile phones.
  • 43% of the official stock of smartphones in the UAE is re-exported through grey market trade.
  • Key sources of grey phones include the U.S., Hong Kong, China, and Europe, while key destinations include Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and various African countries such as Egypt, Nigeria, and Kenya.

"IDC believes that vendors need to understand the drivers behind grey market trade if they are to gain some control over the situation. Grey trade is a very real phenomenon, and many vendors in their global headquarters are completely unaware of the large impact this parallel industry has on their bottom lines. There are certainly many things that vendors can do to ensure this trade either does not occur within the channel or occurs at negligible volumes. Once vendors understand the reasons why this trade occurs and eliminate the root causes of the problem, they will be able to counter this movement. Until then, they need to study, understand, and identify the players that are engaged in this trade." — Nabila Popal, Senior Research Manager, IDC Middle East and Africa


Subscriptions Covered

Middle East and Africa Mobile Phone Grey Market 2018

Companies Covered

Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., Apple Inc., Samsung

Regions Covered

United Arab Emirates

Topics Covered



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