The global political and economic context has been slowing down the adoption of smartphones in Africa for several months. The World Association of Mobile and Mobile Phone Operators estimates that the smartphone adoption rate was 51% in 2022.
Entry-level smartphone shipments ($100-$200) are growing in Africa from 41.6% in Q3 2022 to 43.8% in Q4, according to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC). In this segment, the leader Transsion (with its Itel, Tecno and Infinix brands) saw its market share drop from 47.9% to 43.4%. Samsung moved up to second place with a 28.7% share.
The IDC attributes the growth to smartphone vendors rushing to release affordable phones with high-end features to appeal to a younger crowd. This growth can also be attributed to smartphone financing initiatives that are very popular on the continent today.
Recall that the growth of the entry-level smartphone segment is in contrast to the overall decline in smartphone shipments caused by runaway inflation, global supply chain issues and economic uncertainties. IDC figures indicate that the African smartphone market shrank for the sixth consecutive quarter in the fourth quarter of 2022. Shipments saw a year-on-year decline of 17.8% to 17.6 million units.
IDC expects market demand constraints to improve over the medium term and smartphone shipments to rebound in 2023 with 3% year-on-year growth. “This is modest growth for Africa, but given the level of uncertainty in the global and regional economy, caution is warranted in the region’s smartphone markets,” said Ramazan Yavuz, research director at IDC.
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