Tecno Spark 4, and its cousin, Camon 12, led the top five smartphones in Nigeria ranking, even as the COVID-19 pandemic caused a market decline.
This is a key highlight from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker that also shows Nigeria’s feature phone market was hit by a 12.5% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) decline in shipments in Q1 2020.
However, IDC reports that smartphone shipments also dropped 13.6% over the same period, with demand for both types of devices, features and smartphones, hit by cautious market sentiment in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, IDC says.
Top five smartphones in Nigeria: Beyond devices
Meanwhile, beyond the device space, Nigeria remains a growing market for telephony services with mobiles accounting for over 190,806,067 active phone connections as of April this year, according to official market data from telecoms regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Within the same period, active Internet connections have grown to 138,733,733, while broadband services have reached 75,558,163, representing 39.58% spread across the population.
Amid the market challenges, Chinese players in the Nigerian mobile phone market pushed harder for market stakes with aggressive marketing and branding activities “that helped them to retain notable market shares despite the supply issues thrown up by the pandemic”, according to IDC.
Top five smartphones in Nigeria: Tecno Spark 4, Camon 12 top list
Chinese phone maker, Transsion and owners of the Tecno, Itel, and Infinix brands, dominated the Nigerian smartphone space in Q1 2020 accounting for 76.8% of all shipments for the quarter.
According to IDC figures, Samsung held the second-biggest unit share at 7.2%, while Xiaomi and Huawei followed with respective shares of 4.9% and 3.2%.
George Mbuthia, a research analyst with IDC, says “the Chinese brands continue to offer more models in the entry-level and mid-range price bands, with devices going for less than $200.”
“Competition is a major driver of this downward trend in average selling prices, a trend that has catalysed smartphone adoption in the market. Despite seeing its share drop by 3%, Transsion’s Tecno brand continued to lead the way in Q1 2020, with its Spark 4 and Camon 12 models proving popular. Samsung also remained competitive in Q1 2020 as its A-series models offer superior specifications and are affordable for most consumers.”
IDC also reckon that the pre-order business model buoyed players in the Nigerian mobile phone market from the impact of the pandemic. “From a supply perspective, the December 2019 pre-orders combined with existing inventory to cushion the market from any severe shortages in Q1 2020.”
Top five smartphones in Nigeria: Feature phones still major devices
Feature phones remain a major part of Nigeria’s mobile phone ecosystem, accounting for 56.0% share of all devices shipped in Q1 2020.
In Nigeria, feature phones are preferred as secondary phones since they offer longer battery life, radio, and network access in rural areas where 4G infrastructure is underdeveloped, according to insights from the IDC report.
The major players in the Nigeria’s feature phone space in Q1 2020 were Tecno with 46.6% unit share, Itel with 30.8%, Nokia with 13.0%, and Bontel with 6.9%.
Top five smartphones in Nigeria: Looking ahead
IDC expects the Nigerian market to see a further 15.7% QoQ decline in overall mobile phone shipments in Q2 2020 as the lockdown of major businesses that started March 26th and further measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 continue to have a negative impact.
“Distributors remain reluctant to keep large inventories as they look to avoid bonding more capital amid an economic slowdown with a fluctuating Naira and declining oil prices,”, Ramazan Yavuz, a senior research manager at IDC says.
“The lockdown has also led to loss of income on the consumer side, which will translate into low spend on mobile phones”, according to Yavuz.