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Smartphone Prices in Kenya Expected To Rise Thanks To COVID-19

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Image courtesy Imagup

The smartphone market in Kenya saw a 20.3% year-on-year (YoY) growth in 2019’s last quarter. These are figures from a recent report from global technology and consulting services firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

The growth also happened in the countries East African neighbours, Tanzania and Uganda. The two markets experienced YoY growths of 8.7% and 8.6% respectively. Collectively, the three economies had a total of 10.7 million units shipped, 13.3% more from 2018’s 9.4 million units.

Aggressive Marketing

This surge in sales came as a result of brands’ increase in marketing expenditure and sales promotions. The positive rush was also thanks to the region’s lively distribution network, as online retailers were pretty successful at promoting Black Friday in November.

Smartphones in the low and mid-price segments (below KES 20,000) accounted for a whopping 86% of the total shipments in Q4 2019. A huge chunk, 70.8% to be precise, was taken by brands from Transsion (TECNO, Infinix and itel). TECNO obviously dominated the regional market, distantly followed by Samsung, Huawei then Infinix.

coronavirus smartphone market East Africa

Image courtesy IDC

Samsung’s A-series models did prove to be quite popular in the region hugely due to the affordable prices that drove high demand. Transsion’s TECNO, on the other hand, led the East African market thanks to the Spark 4 and Camon 12 models.

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Coronavirus Outbreak Impact On 2020

The globe currently stands at 126,792 active coronavirus cases with 7 confirmed in Kenya. Industries have certainly received a huge hit and the tech world is no exception. So the main question stands as to what extent the industry will be impacted as the year goes on.

It is anticipated that there will be a slowdown in the East African market. Shipments are predicted to decline by 12% in Q1 2020 and fall further by 3% in Q2 2020.

According to IDC though, there is reason to hope that Q3 and Q4 2020 sees a recovery across each of the East Africa markets. This is if the virus is successfully contained and a vaccine and cure developed by then.

However, smaller markets of Tanzania and Uganda are expected to experience sharper downswings as the Kenyan market decline leads to a limited supply in the region. As a result, top distributors have already warned of a spike in the pricing of electronics including mobile phones and TVs.

So as we keep waiting for what happens next, the aftermath of the pandemic in the next few months will undoubtedly be horrifying to consumers and retailers alike.

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