Shipment of smartphones in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and telecoms hub fell by 6.8% at the end 0f Q2 2016, according to figures from International Data Corporation (IDC).
IDC reports revealed that shipments of smartphones to Africa fell by 5.2% representing 23.1 million units in the second quarter of 2016.
These figures, presented in IDC’s ‘Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker’, indicate that the boom in smartphone sales in Africa is slowing, despite the fact that overall mobile handset shipments were up slightly in Q2 2016, with shipments of basic feature phones rising 31.9% year on year to total 29.8 million units.
South Africa and the North African countries of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia remain the most developed handset markets on the continent, according to IDC.
[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]IDC reports that principal brands – Tecno, Infinix, and itel continue to perform very well in this region, dominating feature phone sales while collectively accounting for the second biggest share of the sub-Saharan Africa smartphone market behind Samsung.[/quote]The Northern trio showed continuing strong growth in the smartphone space, with Long-Term Evolution (LTE) handsets accounting for three-quarters of smartphones sold in the region.
Nabila Popal, research manager for mobile phones at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey says, “The launch of 4G is giving a boost to the mobile business in North Africa, and telecoms operators have made huge investments in new LTE networks. As a result of these investments, 4G services are now being offered at affordable prices to a growing band of customers.”
The most striking change in South Africa, as the IDC report puts it, was the continued growth of the low-price smartphone segment, with devices priced below $100 (retail price less VAT) now accounting for more than two-thirds of the country’s Android sales.
This space has evolved after top-end sales became well established in the market courtesy of the country’s substantial postpaid segment, which is a rare feature of the operator environment in Africa, says IDC.
In Egypt, Africa’s second-largest mobile phone market, the report say that sales of 4G phones in surged in anticipation of the impending launch of LTE networks. Such phones accounted for almost twice as many shipments as 3G devices during the quarter.
However, in the extremely price-conscious markets of Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa), 3G phones remain the predominant choice, according to IDC.
IDC reports that principal brands – Tecno, Infinix, and itel continue to perform very well in this region, dominating feature phone sales while collectively accounting for the second biggest share of the sub-Saharan Africa smartphone market behind Samsung.
IDC believes that the smartphone market will continue to grow in Africa, particularly after the current commodities slump eases. However, sales are unlikely to reach the rates seen a year or two ago now that many urban markets are becoming saturated.
Overall mobile shipments in Africa will top 200 million units in 2016, equating to year-on-year growth of 7.0%, with smartphones accounting for a marginally higher share of the market than was the case in 2015.
According to Simon Baker, senior program manager for mobile phones at IDC CEMA, “Outside the cities, network connectivity is often basic, data speeds are much lower, and rural disposable incomes are often very low.
“As a result, feature phone sales are proving to be resilient across Africa, and this will continue to be the case going forward. Despite downturns in many economies, Africa retains significant long-term growth potential when compared with other developing regions, particularly as smartphone penetration across the continent remains relatively low.”