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Kenyans reduce spending on smartphones as inflation rises, report


A report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) has revealed that smartphone shipments to Kenya reduced by 13.5% year on year (YoY), in the second quarter of Q4 2022.

The report which was produced in collaboration with global technology and consulting services firm Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker notes that the decline was largely caused by supply shortages and inflation. The Kenya Statistics Bureau recorded the country’s inflation at 9.2% in February 2023.

“Consumer spending on smartphones declined as prices for basic commodities increased, constraining budgets for technology products. Finally, smartphone distributors held back on their investments and reduced their inventories as prices kept fluctuating in an attempt to avoid losses,” the report says.

At the same time, Samsung was highlighted as the leading smartphone seller in Kenya, with a market share of 31.7%. Tecno took second place with 18.8% share, while third-placed Infinix accounted for 9.2% of shipments. Samsung leveraged its distribution through the M-KOPA asset-financing platform, which provides underbanked customers in Africa with the opportunity to purchase products like smartphones.

The survey also says that asset financing platforms offering products such as Buy-Now-Pay-Later(BNPL) were least impacted by the slow movement of the smartphone market in  Q4 2022.

“While the general market sentiment was negative in Q4 2022 and reflective of the supply chain squeeze that occurred throughout 2022, those vendors that offered their products via asset-financing platforms were the least impacted, demonstrating a growing appetite for mobile financing schemes,” says George Mbuthia, a senior research analyst at IDC.

Mbuthia further says that these platforms promise the next big innovative service and fast penetration, appealing to the vast but untapped segments of the consumer base in Africa. Very soon, the industry will witness these platforms grow, taking the smartphone market along with it.”

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Simon W Nderitu

Simon is a tech enthusiast who keeps a close eye on emerging technologies, startups and the general business environment. You will often catch him totally immersed and drooling over Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, IoT and just about any other tech that promises to revolutionize the way we live. Send tips to snderitu@techtrendske.co.ke

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