Africa’s smartphone market saw a 7.1% decline in shipments in Q1, with the continent’s two biggest markets, SA and Nigeria, underperforming. This is according to the latest insights from the International Data Corporation (IDC), Africa’s smartphone market saw a decrease due to economic challenges.
The report shows economic challenges caused a 7.1% quarter-on-quarter (QOQ) decline in Africa’s smartphone market in Q1 2019, to total 21.5 million units.
“Africa is susceptible to challenging local macro-economic environments as well as to global tensions surrounding international trade. Another factor is the rise of protectionist measures aimed at controlling smartphone shipments in multiple countries, which causes sudden short-term swings in the market’s performance,” notes IDC.
The consulting firm shows that the two biggest markets, South Africa and Nigeria, under performed significantly. The two countries posted quarter on quarter decreases of 14.7% and 23.4% respectively.
The Nigerai’s poor performance can be attributed to a three-week embargo on shipments of Chinese mobile phone brands into the country, which negatively affected major market players.
And South Africa poor performance could be because of seasonal factors, with Q1 traditionally being the slowest quarter of the year.
Transsion brands (Tecno and Itel) top these segments and remain the continent’s leaders in terms of overall smartphone shipments, together accounting 33.1% of the market’s volume in Q1 2019. Samsung followed in second place with 24.5% unit share.
Huawei ranked third with a unit share of 11.8%. “With most of the continent’s markets experiencing numerous economic challenges, it is clear that cheaper phones offering better value will increasingly dominate the market,” says Ponela.
IDC’s research shows that 4G LTE networks are continuing to spread their reach in Africa, with shipments of 4G LTE devices increasing 15.1% YoY in Q1 2019 to constitute 67.1% of the smartphone market.
“A drop in prices for entry-level 4G phones and discounted tariff and data plans on the operator side are driving this growth,” says Yavuz. “However, despite the rapid penetration of 4G handsets, 2G and 3G mobile devices remain resilient as an economical option for price sensitive consumers.”