Feature phones fine, smartphones shaky during Q3 in Africa

Feature phones fine, smartphones shaky during Q3 in Africa

Africa’s smartphone market saw shipments decline 2.3 per cent quarter on quarter (QoQ) during Q3 2021, though feature phones performed reasonably well, according to the latest figures announced by market intelligence provider International Data Corporation (IDC).

Signs of recovery in the smartphone market in the first half of the year were apparently undermined by component shortages causing a decline in shipments.

In contrast, says the report, Africa's feature phone market remains buoyant, growing 14.2 percent QoQ in Q3 2021. This, it seems, is partly down to the still relatively high price of smartphones. That said, the average selling price (ASP) for smartphones in Q3 2021 declined slightly due to new models being launched in the entry-level price bands.

Afric’s top three smartphone markets recorded mixed performances in Q3 2021. Egypt saw shipments decline 19.5 percent QoQ, while Nigeria was down 9.4 percent over the same period. Both of these markets are dominated by Chinese brands that had lower shipments due to component shortages. South Africa saw shipments increase 28.4 percent QoQ, with Nokia and Samsung performing well.

Transsion brands (Tecno, Itel, and Infinix) led the African smartphone market in Q3 2021 with a unit share of 47.4 percent, maintaining stable shipments into the region. Samsung placed second with 21.3 percent share, while Xiaomi — which experienced a QoQ decline in shipments — placed third with 6.1 percent share.

4G devices accounted for 81.0 percent of smartphones shipped into the region in Q3 2021, followed by 3G devices with 15.9 percent share and 5G devices with just 3.1 percent share. Lack of infrastructure means it may be some time before 5G devices gain a strong foothold in the market.

However, as supply shortages are better managed IDC expects smartphone shipments into Africa to grow. Ramazan Yavuz, a senior research manager at IDC, says, “A more stable recovery in the supply chain is expected starting from the second half of 2022 when component shortages will start to ease. After this period, the transition from feature phones to smartphones will accelerate as there is clear demand for smartphones in the African market.”

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