Africa’s Mobile Phone Market Declines In Q3

According to a report compiled by the International Data Corporation (IDC), Africa's mobile phone market has dipped by 2.1% quarter on quarter (QoQ) in Q3 2018.

The Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker released by the consulting firm showed that overall shipments for the quarter were a total of 52.6 million units, with feature phone shipments declining by 2.7% QoQ and smartphone shipments decreasing by 1.3% over the same time frame.

Transsion brands (Infinix, Tecno and Itel) was the front-runner in the feature phone space in Q3 2018, with a total unit share of 58.2%. Nokia was in second place with a share of 11.7%. Transsion, Huawei and Samsung dominated the smartphone space with unit shares of 34.9%, 21.7%, and 10.2% respectively. However, in terms of value, Samsung was in the lead with a 37.2% share, followed by Transsion (21.0%) and Huawei fell into third place with a share of 13.0%.

The individual results of three major markets differed significantly from each other, with Nigeria suffering a substantial 11.6% QoQ decline in its mobile phone shipments, while on the other hand, South Africa and Kenya saw QoQ growth of 8.5% and 7.9% respectively in Q3 of 2018.

One of IDC’s research analysts, George Mbuthia said that the decline in Nigeria was caused by a slowdown in government spending, an uncertain market in the build-up to elections and the ongoing warfare in the country's northern region.

Mbuthia said that South Africa’s market's growth was boosted by the introduction of low-end devices from brands such as Mint, Mobicel and Nokia, while the roll-out of entry-level smartphones helped promote growth in Kenya despite the increases in fuel prices and taxes placing a strain on disposable income in the country.

While feature phones remain popular in the rural parts of Africa, consumers are increasingly being drawn towards smartphone products from Chinese brands such as Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo which are targeting feature-oriented customers at more affordable price points.

Going forward, IDC predicts that Africa's overall mobile phone market will reach 58 million units in Q4 2018, because of the festive season and online shopping events such as Black Friday. The introduction of more affordable smartphones in the African continent will help drive progress in this sector over the coming quarters. In the same breath, the share of feature phones will drop steadily as the journey towards smartphones gathers momentum.

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