Africa’s Smartphone Market Suffers Worst Decline Since 2015

It’s apparent that the covid-19 pandemic has negatively affected various industries around the world. For the smartphone market, the latest data from  International Data Corporation (IDC) draws the whole picture of how the Africa ‘s smartphone market has faired on.

The latest Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker report indicates shipments in the African smartphone market declined by 17.8% quarter on quarter (QoQ) in Q1 2020. Total smartphone shipments stood at 20.1 million units.

In general, the overall mobile phone shipments (including feature phones) stood at 46.8 million units, down by 20.5% QoQ. Feature phones accounted for most of the shipments in the period with a 57.1% share compared to the 42.9% smartphone market share.

The most affected markets included South Africa, and Nigeria, both recording double-digit declines for the period.

Market Leaders

In the period under review, the leading smartphone brands were still the usual – Transsion brands (Tecno, Infinix, and Itel). Combined, the three companies collected accounted for a  36.7% share. Samsung and Huawei followed in the second and third positions with respective shares of 18.8% and 11.1%.

Here’s the general market outlook for Q1 2020:

Africa Smartphone marketshare in Q1 2020
Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker report

“COVID-19 severely disrupted the industry in Q1 2020, while consumer demand also showed signs of a mild decline,” says Taher Abdel-Hameed, a senior research analyst at IDC.

“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.”


IDC says Q2 won’t be any better since “a significant portion of mobile phone channels are closed in the region and economies have slowed down quite significantly.”

For the whole of 2020, the firm expects the African smartphone market to decline by 9.1% year on year. Recovery is expected in H2 but the onus of the pandemic will be felt in the overall market at the end of the year.

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Alvin Wanjala

Alvin Wanjala has been writing about technology for over 2 years. He writes about different topics in the consumer tech space. He loves streaming music, programming, and gaming during downtimes.

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