Africa's mobile phone market

Africa’s mobile phone market, the situation in 2017

Africa’s mobile phone market started 2017 off with a drastic quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) decline according to the latest figures announced today by International Data Corporation (IDC).

The global technology research and consulting firm’s newly released Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker shows that overall shipments for the first quarter of the year in Africa totaled 54.5 million units, down -8.2% on Q4 2016.

IDC states that this was primarily due to a stark -17.6% decline in the smartphone segment, with shipments falling from 25.8 million units in Q4 2016 to 21.2 million units in Q1 2017.

The drop in smartphone shipments in Q1 2017 was caused by substantial QoQ declines in the continent’s three largest smartphone markets – South Africa (-13.6%), Nigeria (-8.1%), and Egypt (-11.5%).

In South Africa, the drop was mainly due to high levels of stock in the channel from previous quarters,” says Nabila Popal, a senior research manager at IDC. “Nigeria‘s decline was caused by the ongoing recession in the overall economy as well as difficulties in accessing foreign currencies for imports, while continuing exchange-rate difficulties were also behind the major decline seen in Egypt.”

In terms of vendor rankings, Samsung remains the continent’s leading smartphone vendor, with 29.8% share in Q1 2017, up on the previous two quarters but slightly down on Q1 2016.

Its big rival in Africa, the China-based Transsion group, took second place with 23.9% share of the smartphone market, thanks to its diversified portfolio of mid-range phones and strong focus on the ˂$150 price segment.

IDC is forecasting that Africa’s smartphone shipments will remain flat this year, but for growth to resume in 2018 as the economy gradually recovers.

 

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