Global Media Intelligence 2021: Saudi Arabia

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Noteworthy in 2021

Smartphones are omnipresent, and smartwatches are making headway.

  • More than 98% of internet users in Saudi Arabia ages 16 to 64 owned a smartphone in H1 2021, almost unchanged from last year. Time spent with phones and other mobile devices rose to 4 hours, 24 minutes (4:24) per day on average in H1 2021.
  • Fewer than 58% of all respondents had a desktop or laptop, though. Penetration was below average among younger adults (ages 16 to 34) and in lower-income households. Conversely, the share of affluents owning a PC continued to rise, to 76.5%. City dwellers were also more likely to have a PC than respondents in suburban and rural areas. Despite fairly low penetration overall, the average time internet users spent daily with PCs and tablets was 3:42.
  • Tablet penetration was also much greater among web users in high-income households (47.6%), compared with the national average (31.3%). Females were more likely to own a tablet, too. But surprisingly, the share of tablet owners in the 55-to-64 age bracket had plunged by more than 16 percentage points year over year (YoY), to 25.3%.
  • To date, investment in smart home devices, such as household energy consumption monitors, has been notably low. Fewer than 7% of internet users in Saudi Arabia owned a smart home product in H1 2021—and even in higher-income homes, penetration fell short of 10%.
  • However, smartwatches and smart wristbands did gain ground. Following a pattern seen in many other countries, penetration of both devices grew by a few percentage points; in H1 2021, 20.5% of internet users polled owned a smartwatch, and 12.4% had a smart wristband. Penetration was significantly higher in middle- and high-income homes; more than 30% of respondents in affluent households owned a smartwatch.

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authors

Karin von Abrams

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