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Smartphone Sales in Africa Drop To The Lowest Since 2015

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smartphone market in africa
Image courtesy Android PIT

Like we all feared, it seems that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a toll on the tech industry around the world and more so in Africa. The latest report from International Data Corporation (IDC) draws a general picture of how bad the smartphone market has been in Q1 2020.

According to IDC, the African market was hit by a 17.8% quarter on quarter (Q0Q) decline in this year’s first quarter. This accounts for a total of 20.1 million smartphones shipped during the course of the 2020’s first three months. In general, the overall mobile phone shipments (including feature phones) stood at 46.8 million units, accounting for a 20.5% QoQ drop.

Surprisingly, feature phones sold the most grabbing a 57.1% share compared to the 42.9% smartphone market share.

Who Lost The Most?

Being one of the worst-hit countries by the pandemic in the continent, South Africa witnessed the biggest drop as shipments fell by 22.9% in the first quarter. Egypt saw sales slow down by 6.3% accounting for 2.82 million units in Q1 2020.

Luckily, no country in East Africa has seen a huge drop as the next market that followed was Nigeria that witnessed a 13.6% decline in shipments and sales.

Market Leaders

When it comes to brands, IDC reports that Transsion Holdings was lucky enough to dominate the market in the first quarter. This includes smartphones from TECNO, Infinix and Itel that took a  36.7% market share. Samsung and Huawei fell behind with 18.8% and 11.1% shares in the market respectively.

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IDC smartphone market report

“The market’s Chinese players continued with aggressive marketing and branding activities that helped them to retain notable market shares despite the supply issues thrown up by the pandemic,” IDC explained.

Meanwhile, the market has been bad for Xiaomi that trailed at the bottom of the list with a 4.9% market share. However, this was an upward direction from Q4 2019’s 4.9% share. “In such an environment, consumers are moving towards more affordable entry-level and mid-range devices. Xiaomi benefited from this trend and was able to drive growth over the quarter while most of the other popular brands reported declines,” says Taher Abdel-Hameed, a senior research analyst at IDC.

Additionally, IDC goes on to say that Q2 2020 is not expected to be any better since “a significant portion of mobile phone channels are closed in the region and economies have slowed down quite significantly.”

Despite efforts to contain the pandemic, there has been a growing number of cases across the continent and things are only feared to get worse. The firm expects the African smartphone market to decline by 9.1% year on year. Nevertheless, a recovery is expected to take place in the second half of 2020 as things hopefully get back to normal at the end of the year.

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