African mobile phone market declines 2.1 percent as shipments fall in Q3

The mobile phone industry is now massive in Nigeria - 25 years ago, it did not exist
The mobile phone industry is now massive in Nigeria - 25 years ago, it did not exist

Mobile phone market in Africa declined 2.1 percent to 52.6 million units with falling shipments quarter-on-quarter, a report by International Data Corporation (IDC) shows.

Feature phone shipments fell 2.7 percent quarter-on-quarter and smartphone shipments declined 1.3 percent over the same period, says the report.

According to the report, Transsion brands (Tecno, Infinix, and Itel) led the feature phone space in Q3, with a combined unit share of 58.2 percent while Nokia was next in line with 11.7 percent share.

Transsion, Samsung, and Huawei dominated the smartphone space with respective unit shares of 34.9 percent, 21.7 percent, and 10.2 percent, says the report.

According to the report, while feature phones remain steadfastly popular across Africa, particularly in more rural areas, consumers are increasingly being attracted by smartphone offerings from Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, Oppo, and Huawei, which are actively targeting feature-oriented customers at more economical price points.

IDC expects Africa’s overall mobile phone market to reach 58 million units in Q4 2018, spurred by the festive season and online consumer events such as Black Friday.

It said the introduction of more affordable smartphones in the African market will help drive progress in this space over the coming quarters, while the share of feature phones will decline steadily as the transition to smartphones gathers momentum.

However, in value terms, Samsung led the smartphone market with 37.2 percent share, followed by Transsion (21.0 percent) and Huawei (13.0 percent).

The study says there were differing fortunes in the region’s three major markets, with Nigeria suffering a heavy 11.6 percent QoQ decline in mobile phone shipments, while South Africa and Kenya saw respective QoQ growth of 8.5 percent and 7.9 percent in Q3.

“The decline in Nigeria stemmed from a slowdown in government spending, ongoing warfare in the country’s northern states, and market uncertainty in the lead up to elections,” said George Mbuthia, a research analyst at IDC.

“In South Africa, the market’s growth was spurred by the penetration of low-end devices from brands such as Mobicel, Mint, and Nokia”, said Mbuthia.

The analyst said the launch of entry-level smartphones helped drive growth in Kenya despite increases in taxes and fuel prices placing a significant burden on disposable income in the country. Enditem

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