African mobile phone shipments declined by 6.0 percent quarter on quarter in the second quarter but Chinese smartphone brands still continued to lead the smartphone market, a new study released on Wednesday shows.
The study by International Data Corporation (IDC), a technology research and consulting services firm, says the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on smartphone shipments has been felt differently across the region.
The study shows that Africa’s smartphone market remained flat in the second quarter experiencing just 0.1 percent growth, while the region’s feature phone shipments declined 10.6 percent.
IDC said various lockdowns implemented during the period led to the growth of the online distribution channel, while enforced closures caused the decline of physical retail in the region.
“Despite a striking increase in online sales, the channel still only accounted for 3.2 percent of the total mobile phones shipped across Africa in quarter 2, 2020,” said Ramazan Yavuz, a senior research manager at IDC.
The study says China’s Transsion brands (Tecno, Itel, and Infinix) continued to lead the smartphone market during the period with a unit share of 45.2 percent.
IDC said Samsung and Huawei followed with respective unit shares of 19.0 percent and 8.8 percent.
According to IDC, the availability of such devices helped brands to cope with the weak demand and price consciousness that flourished during the pandemic.
IDC expects with the reopening of markets, the retail channel is expected to recover, although not to the levels it enjoyed before the pandemic.