TECNO has managed to beat Samsung as Africa’s top smartphone brand for the first time in 2020. This was reported by market research firm Counterpoint, which associates this milestone with a successful launch of models in the affordable segment. This is alongside market spending and aggressive marketing.
The Transsion-owned brand achieved this against a backdrop of a 6.7% YoY (year-on-year) decline in Africa’s smartphone shipments in 2020. Much of the damage was experienced in the first half of the year due to retail and supply chains disruptions caused by COVID-19. As predicted though, the market has been recovering swiftly since the second half due to pent-up demand.
“Looking at the entire year, the African smartphone market outperformed other regions but was not immune to disruptions caused by the pandemic. Q2 2020 was especially difficult as demand was hammered when most countries entered lockdowns. Smartphone shipments during the quarter saw a YoY drop of 27%,” said Counterpoint’s senior analyst, Yang Wang.
“Restrictions started easing in July. The demand followed suit, riding on a surge in promotional activities, even as COVID-19 cases ticked upwards heading into the Christmas shopping season. Q4 2020 actually eked out a 1.5% gain in YoY terms, the best quarter on record,” he added.
The data reveals that Samsung took second place with a 15% market share followed by Itel that claimed 12% market share. Huawei held on to the fourth spot, mainly due to resilient performance through the first three quarters of 2020. This is despite the various sanctions the firm has in the U.S.
Infinix saw market share gains in 2020 due to a strong performance in the second half of the year. This was followed by Xiaomi whose shipments grew by a whopping 126% YoY. This is was due to aggressive market entry initiatives, with encouraging sales in Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Kenya.
2020 also saw sales of the first 5G capable smartphones in Africa. 5G is unlikely to be a main factor in the African market in the next few years though, as the deployment of 5G commercial networks is still in its infancy in the continent. Still, there is room for 5G smartphones in Africa, especially if prices can drop below $200, as Counterpoint expects to happen in the near future.