The most valuable Saudi imports also include mobile phones, gold and medicines. Mobile phones, gold, medications and computers represent other imported products benefiting from powerful demand. Foodstuffs including chicken and rice are also among Saudi Arabia’s highest value imports.
The following list shows on which product categories Saudi importers spent the most. Unlike most information currently available on the web, the items below are detailed at the 4-digit tariff code level.
This level of granularity can help entrepreneurs identify more precisely which products in which Saudi Arabia has strong demand perhaps competitive disadvantages compared with other nations. Innovation satisfying that demand can transform these disadvantages into lucrative business opportunities.
Highest Value Saudi Import Products
Below are the 20 highest value import products delivered to Saudi importers in 2016. Shown within brackets is the change in value for each imported product over the 7-year period starting in 2009.
- Cars: US$12.9 billion (Up 56% from 2009 to 2016)
- Phone system devices including smartphones: $5.1 billion (Up 63.4%)
- Medication mixes in dosage: $3.5 billion (Up 170.3%)
- Aircraft parts: $2.7 billion (Up 44.2%)
- Trucks: $2.2 billion (Up 6.7%)
- Gold (unwrought): $2.2 billion (Up 230.6%)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $1.6 billion (Up 43.9%)
- Poultry meat: $1.5 billion (Up 39.2%)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $1.4 billion (Up 18%)
- Computers, optical readers: $1.4 billion (Down -6.7%)
- Rubber tires (new): $1.3 billion (Up 20.2%)
- Air conditioners: $1.3 billion (Up 131.1%)
- Cigars/cigarellos, cigarettes: $1.2 billion (Up 119.7%)
- Machinery parts: $1.1 billion (Up 44.8%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $1 billion (Up 33.4%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $991.2 million (Up 60.1%)
- Other food preparations: $950.9 million (Up 76%)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $945.6 million (Up 12%)
- Piston engines: $928.3 million (Up 37.6%)
- Rice: $917.3 million (Down -33.8%)
Among these product categories, unprocessed gold posted the greatest increase in Saudi import purchases with a 230.6% gain in value from 2009 to 2016.
In second place were imported medication mixes in dosage which appreciated 170.3% over the same 7-year period.
Saudi imports of air conditioners also showed a respectable gain in 2016 up by 131.1%, followed by import purchases of cigars and cigarellos up by 119.7%.
Only two of Saudi Arabia’s top 20 imports declined in value from 2009 to 2016. Rice imports depreciated by -33.8% while imported computers including optical readers fell by -6.7%.
See also Saudi Arabia’s Top 10 Major Export Companies, Saudi Arabia’s Top 10 Exports and Saudi Arabia’s Top 10 Imports
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 22, 2017
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports and World Population, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on April 22, 2017
Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on April 22, 2017