22.9 million smartphones were shipped across various countries on the African continent in the third quarter (Q3) of 2020, the International Data Corporation (IDC) ha reported.
This represents a 14.1 per cent year-over-year increase relative to the same period of 2019.
“The growth of the smartphone market was caused by the release of pent-up demand after countries eased their COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and by a shift in vendor strategies to offer more entry-level flagship models,” the IDC says in a statement.
While smartphones were on the rise, feature phones were on their way down.
29.4 million feature phone units were shipped in Q3 2020, a drop of 11.2% when compared to a similar period last year.
The drop in feature phone shipments, a core part of Africa’s mobile phone market, saw the continent’s mobile phone market contract by 6%.
As expected, “Transsion brands (Tecno, Itel, and Infinix) continued to dominate Africa’s smartphone space in Q3 2020, with 42.2% unit share. Samsung and Huawei followed in second and third place, with respective unit shares of 19.9% and 8.7%.”
Given that Infinix doesn’t play in the feature phone market, sticking with its Android-powered smartphones, Tecno and itel have a total dominance of the feature phone market with a combined market share of over three-quarters (76.6%). The closest rival to the Transsion sibling brands is Nokia (the brand propped by Foxconn subsidiary FIH Mobile unlike on smartphones where it is licensed to HMD Global) which has 8% market share.
89% of smartphones shipped to the continent last quarter cost Kshs 22,000 (USD 200) or less. Sub-USD 100 smartphones, which have for long been the darlings of the Kenyan and African markets for long still account for the biggest chunk of smartphones in use on the continent, accounting for 53% of all smartphones shipped in Q3 2020.
Interestingly, according to the IDC data, there was a rise (by 1.6%) in the number of devices priced between USD 100 and 200 last quarter.
Due to the economic uncertainties occasioned by the prevailing global pandemic, there was a decline in smartphones costing more than USD 200 (and under USD 500) i.e. mid-range smartphones.
Demand for entry-level smartphones was driven by e-learning requirements since smartphones are the only device offering internet access for most households in Africa,” Ramazan Yavuz, a senior research manager at IDC, is quoted saying in the firm’s statement.