Mobile phone shipments to Nigeria and Africa is witnessing an uptick. According to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC), the total shipments of smartphones into Nigeria topped 2.7 million between April and June 2018 as there was an impressive 15.8% growth compared to the same quarter in 2017.
Smartphone penetration is on the rise in emerging markets and can dramatically enhance the #mobilemoney value proposition. What are the best practices in ensuring #smartphone app #security? https://t.co/rQeEXwuOtD pic.twitter.com/8jebPpQA4o
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The IDC attributes the growth to Nigeria’s stable economy. “The Nigerian economy remains stable and has begun to show signs of steady improvement in terms of consumer demand for mobile phones”, says Arnold Ponela at IDC. But warns that this growth could stall as forex and falling income levels threatens this momentum.
However, Nigeria is not the only market experiencing an uptick in Africa. Statistics show that across the continent, mobile phone sales grew 9.8% in Q2 2018, and has grown by 6.0% since April 2017.
South Africa remains the continent's most developed telecommunications market, with smartphone shipments up 17.4 percent year on year in in the second quarter to total 3.4 million units. | https://t.co/JxEDbsB35Q | #MondayMotivation #MoneyMonday
— Business Report (@busrep) September 25, 2018
About 22.4 million smartphones were shipped during this quarter, with South Africa accounting for 17.4% or 3.4 million shipments. In the case of South Africa, the IDC expects this growth to continue to thanks to its stable economy and new cheaper phone models.
“Numerous new entrants to the South African market are now offering smartphones that boast very similar features to the leading brands”, says Ponela. And he suggests that this will help reduce feature phone demand in the country in the long run.
Growth in smartphones continues to be led by strong demand for low-end and mid-range devices. Techno, Itel and Infinix, all owned by Transsion Holdings, continue to command market share. Together, Transsion devices accounted for 35.4% of smartphones shipped to Africa. Meanwhile, Samsung continues to maintain its second place position with 23.2%.
Are Feature Phones Declining?
According to IDC data, feature phones are losing ground gradually on the continent. In 2017, these phones accounted for 60% of the African mobile market. However, in Q2 2018, this lead was down to 58.3%.
IDC attributes the decline of feature phone shipment to two things.
First, smartphones are getting stronger support, especially from telecom operators. This is not new as since Android 2.3 debuted a few years back, African telco has partnered with brands like HTC, Infinix, Samsung hasTecno to offer affordable low-end devices. However, these earlier partnerships brought phones that were extremely low tech, even for the low-end range.
Smartphone sales in Africa drops by 6.5pc in Q4 as Transsion brands lead Samsung https://t.co/RAIEuyvS8a
— IDC SSA (@IDC_SSA) March 14, 2018
But recent partnerships have promoted phones with better specs. And with the release of the Android 8.0, which is designed for low RAM devices, low-end phones only need possess minimal feature sets to run efficiently on Android.
A second reason for the drop in feature phones is down to low-end models being modeled after big brands. With leading brands like iPhone and Samsung being too expensive, manufacturers now model a few their specs for their devices. They now adopt a few of these features and fit them into a range of low-end devices.
It is very rare to see one low-end device pack many of these adaptations. This makes them trendy and desirable for Africa’s rising middle-class and low-wage earners.