Published On: 10/10/2017

Dubai, UAE: Sales within the UAE’s ICT sector reached $4 billion in 2016, driven by growing demand for products and services within the country’s public and private sectors, new analysis conducted by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has revealed.

The analysis, based on recent data from Business Monitor International (BMI) and Euromonitor International, was released during GITEX Technology Week 2017 and looked at sales within product categories such as computer hardware, and software, as well as IT, communication, and telecommunication services.

The data showed that increased use of computers in homes and offices and the adoption of new ICT technologies has led to increased demand for ICT goods and services in the UAE and foreign markets. Sales within the UAE’s computer hardware and peripheral segment amounted to around 3.5 million units last year, a 52% surge compared to 2012.

Figure 1: UAE computer and peripheral sales volume (thousand units)

Source: Euromonitor International (2007)

Products sold in this segment include computer products such as PCs, laptop computers, tablets and peripherals such as printers and monitors. The growth in mobile computing has led to a robust increase in the share of smaller tablet computers compared to the total value of computer sales. Tablet computer sales accounted for 67% of the total volume of computer sales in 2016, up from 32% in 2012.

Market trends and opportunities

Demand for ICT products and services has also grown across Asia and Africa providing UAE businesses with opportunities to sell ICT products to tourists and to export/re-export them for use in foreign countries. According to data from, UAE exports of automatic data-processing machines and units were valued at around $1.17 billion in 2015, while imports were valued at around $2.49 billion.

Key trends impacting the UAE’s ICT sector include the use of technologies that enable devices to communicate with each other, known as the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is being used especially in the UAE’s logistics sector, and could see increased adoption in other sectors of the economy.

Another important trend is the growing demand for new technologies that can be used for Smart City solutions. According to recent estimates by CISCO, Dubai’s public and public sectors can potentially achieve value of around $4.8 billion by 2019 by implementing IoT in Smart City technologies.

Uptick in Cloud Computing Spending

Spending on cloud computing in the UAE increased from $51 million in 2011 to $381 million in 2016, marking a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49% over the period. Demand for cloud services has been particularly strong, and this trend is expected to continue in the future and create new opportunities in the market.

Other key segments where momentum is growing are network security and mobile computing. Network security in the UAE has the potential for future growth, especially in new niche categories such as mobile network security and secure cloud computing resources.

The mobile computing segment is also witnessing an uptick in activity with the number of mobile subscribers in the UAE increasing from about 11.6 million in 2011 to about 19 million in 2016, according to data from Business Monitor International.

Figure 2: UAE cloud computing spending (AED million)

Source: Business Monitor International, UAE Information Technology Report (Q3 2017)