Smartphone sales in Africa mirrored other emerging markets as macroeconomic factors hit consumer pockets, leading to a decline in vendor shipments.
Analyst company IDC said in its latest Q1 report for the continent, only 17 million units were shipped, a 3.4% drop quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) the lowest figure since the start of the pandemic (Q1 2020). This was blamed on rising inflation and local currency depreciations against the US dollar, which has “negatively impacted demand for smartphones across the continent”.
IDC senior research analyst George Mbuthia said: "The average selling price (ASP) for smartphones grew QoQ due to high import costs and the fact that many vendors' flagship devices are now equipped with 5G and have therefore moved up in price to the premium segment."
Transsion (Tecno, Itel, and Infinix) accounted for the largest share of smartphone shipments across Africa in Q1 2023, despite experiencing a decline in units. Samsung placed second, while Xiaomi came in third.
IDC senior research manager Ramazan Yavuz added: "Looking ahead, a slight recovery in demand is expected starting from the second half of 2023, with uncertainty over a global recession lessening. Greater currency stability against the dollar will promote more stable pricing, and this is also expected to ease import costs and thus lower ASPs in the market, helping to spur slight growth throughout the remainder of the year."