Smartphone Shipments to Africa Rose 5.4 Per cent YoY in Q4 2019: IDC

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  • The smartphone demand in Africa, as per ID, was driven by the launch of various new affordable and feature-rich models
  • Transsion brands (Tecno, Itel, and Infinix) continued to dominate Africa’s smartphone space in Q4 2019

The overall African mobile phone market grew 3.8 per cent year on year (YoY) in Q4 2019, according to the latest figures from global technology and consulting services firm International Data Corporation (IDC). This growth was spurred by various end-of-year sales promotions, which were augmented by earlier Black Friday and Cyber Monday discount offerings.

Sustained demand for entry-level phones launched throughout 2019 also supported shipment growth. However, this growth is unlikely to be repeated over the following two quarters as the impact of the global COVID-19 outbreak may derail smartphone shipments to African market.

Demand driven by the launch of new affordable and feature-rich models

Smartphone demand was driven by the launch of various new affordable and feature-rich models. Transsion brands (Tecno, Itel, and Infinix) continued to dominate Africa’s smartphone space in Q4 2019, with 40.6 per cent unit share. Samsung and Huawei followed in second and third place, with respective unit shares of 18.6 per cent and 9.8 per cent. The Transsion brands Tecno and Itel also dominated the feature phone landscape with a combined share of 69.5 per cent. HMD placed third with 10.2 per cent share.

“Transsion’s huge success can be attributed to the fact that its devices are competitively priced and largely purpose built for African consumers. The vendor’s continued marketing efforts also enabled it to gain market share from more established brands,” stated Arnold Ponela, a research analyst at IDC.

Devices priced below $200 accounted for 83.2 per cent of smartphone shipments

In terms of price bands, devices priced below $200 accounted for 83.2 per cent of smartphone shipments to Africa in Q4 2019. The share of smartphones priced below $100 bands increased from 46.8 per cent in Q4 2018 to 51.2 per cent in Q4 2019, while the share of devices priced $100 to 200 declined.

Mobile phone shipments to South Africa and Nigeria, the continent’s biggest markets, rose 2.0 per cent and 5.2 per cent YoY, respectively, in Q4 2019. Smartphone shipments to South Africa grew 2.2 per cent YoY to total 6.5 million units.

“This increase can be attributed to seasonal factors, with Q4 traditionally being the strongest quarter of the year when demand is stirred by Black Friday and the Christmas season. Leading smartphone brands such as Samsung, Huawei, and Mobicel have introduced feature-rich entry-level models, while network operators are offering discounted bundles and tariff plans to consumers. Both of these factors are spurring demand in the market,” added Ponela.

Looking ahead, IDC expects the overall African market to contract 8.4 per cent YoY in Q1 2020 to total 48.7 million units, with much of this decline stemming from uncertainty caused by the global COVID-19 outbreak.

“The closure of factories in China following the COVID-19 outbreak has severely disrupted the supply chain for components used in the production of smartphones. The fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak is compounding existing local and macroeconomic challenges across Africa, and we expect smartphone shipments to the continent to decline 14.9 per cent QoQ in Q1 2020,” added Ramazan Yavuz, a research manager at IDC.

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