Smartphone shipments in Africa surge

Smartphone shipments in Africa surge

­­Smartphone shipments in Africa surged 24% in the first quarter of this year due to lowering inflation and new device launches.

Analyst company Canalys said in its quarterly report, smartphone shipments in Q1 grew to 18.2 million units making Africa the third fastest growing smartphone region globally in the quarter. It was noted most African countries saw accelerated economic growth in comparison to Q1, 2023.

Sub-Saharan Africa saw “rapid growth” at a rate of 42% YoY, with Nigeria leading the charge despite its currency plunging against the dollar.

Demand remained high in Nigeria, this was driven by telecom advancements, a robust financial sector and government initiatives, such as the Central Bank of Nigeria’s cashless policy.

The South African market grew by 19% by demand in the prepaid segment, showcasing a preference from South Africans for affordable handsets as the country battles high interest rates and energy availability.

Kenya saw a 7% decline due to high import tax and VAT. Efforts to push locally manufactured phones are being challenged by higher retail prices.

Egypt saw significant growth in North Africa with 39%, while Algeria saw a 16% rise. In contrast, Morrocco saw a 17% decline due to a rise in customs duty.

Manish Pravinkumar, Senior Analyst at Canalys noted smartphones in the below US$100 bracket is “set to grow by 13% in 2024 as mass-market vendors enhance their offerings.”

The analyst predicted that by 2025 4G penetration will reach nearly 75% of shipments and as operators and governments push schemes to connect people.

Africa has the highest feature phone penetration rate globally with 46% of all phones being a basic handset.

“Canalys expects a modest 4% growth in 2024 as vendors will face operational challenges due to exchange rate volatility, though inflationary pressures may ease in some markets.

“In the long run, sustainable market practices, such as local manufacturing, as seen in Egypt and potentially applicable to markets such as Nigeria, will be crucial for vendors. Additionally, aligning with government-led digitalization and consumer tech adoption initiatives will be vital for continued progress,” said Pravinkumar.

IDC reported smartphone sales surpasses feature phones for the first time in Africa


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