Smartphone handsets only account for 30% of the mobile handset market in most African countries. And by 2017, research suggests that 70% of phones in the world will be smartphones.
[blockquote right=”pull-right”]Tecno Mobile is today the fastest growing mobile phone brand in Africa, and you know that Africa is the fastest growing mobile market in the world. In the same quarter when Blackberry sold sold 2.1 million handsets globally, Tecno sold 12.6 Million handsets on the African continent alone, with Nigeria accounting for 6.3 million handsets.[/blockquote]
This background, I believe should make mobile manufacturers position themselves for the endless opportunities in abundance on the African continent. I am choosing Blackberry as a case study as we all know that the company has been struggling with sales recently. You might just think that Africa may be a core focus for growth?
According to the Guardian newspaper, Blackberry’s handset business across the world isn’t out of the woods.More to the point, the handset business – which generates roughly half of the company’s revenues – is recovering, but slowly. BlackBerry shipped only 2.1m phones in the last financial quarter.
According to Tecno Mobile (an Android phone) official press release, Tecno Mobile is today the fastest growing mobile phone brand in Africa, and you know that Africa is the fastest growing mobile market in the world. In the same quarter when Blackberry sold sold 2.1 million handsets globally, Tecno sold 12.6 Million handsets on the African continent alone, with Nigeria accounting for 6.3 million handsets. Please note that the figures are official figures from Tecno.
I have to point out that I do not consult for Tecno. I am merely exposing an interesting obscure fact to most people.
Tecno is beating Blackberry and Samsung in Africa for the following reasons:
- Tecno’s business model is focused on low cost handset. Handset can be purchased for as little as $20. This is by far very affordable compared to the average African consumer, compared to Blackberry’s offerings. This is great news for bulk of the consumers on the African continent that won’t be able to afford the high end phones.
Tecno cost of production is way lower, compared to Blackberry’s. There is a factory in Ethiopia and one planned for Nigeria soon.
3.Blackberry Messenger (BBM) is available on Tecno phones. The end users are really eating their cake and eating it; an android phone and a BBM chat functionality that Africans love! Couldn’t be better!
According to my article, Africa Rising, The Untold African Story, it may be in the best interest of Blackberry to rethink their strategy and handset offerings for Africa. Apart from the fact that only 50% of Africans own phones, only 30% own smartphones and there are 735 million Africans! The opportunity abounds.
Blackberry may also claw some lost ground with the Blackberry Enterprise Server 12 due sometimes this month. There is also a lot of opportunity to expand by social collaborations and direct marketing as employed by Tecno.
I bet you may not have heard about Tecno before. It’s a company from China. The company is making giant strides in Africa. They may not have the best customer service records, but you can’t refute the fact in Africa today. There is only one winner in the rise of smartphone sales volume. Where Blackberry and Samsung are failing, Tecno seems to be unstoppable.
A caveat from my part is that it has to be pointed out that Tecno handsets are not as rugged as Blackberry’s handset. The interesting feedback I’ve picked up from my research is that the consumers find a way to look after the handsets as much as possible.
What’s your experience about Tecno? Do you or any of your friend and/or family have any feedback for me?