Lagos — Nigeria has remained Africa's largest smartphone market in Q2 2019 followed by South Africa and Egypt, the latest figures by International Data Corporation (IDC) has revealed.
Nigeria and South Africa saw smartphone shipments increase 3.6 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively, while Egypt had 18.0 per cent quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) growth after the market shrunk considerably in Q1 2019 due to the introduction of import registration and other import regulations.
The Africa mobile phone market declined 1.8 per cent (QoQ) in Q2 2019, according to IDC's Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker which shows overall shipments for the quarter totalled 52.2 million units, down from 53.1 million units in Q1 2019.
Feature phones accounted for 58.3 per cent of the market, with shipments declining 3.7 per cent QoQ while smartphone shipments increased 1.0 per cent over the same period to account for 41.7 per cent share.
"Feature phones remain an integral part of the African mobile phone market due to poor network infrastructure across large parts of the continent, particularly in rural areas, and the ease of use of these devices," a research analyst at IDC, George Mbuthia said.
"However, the transition to smartphones is continuing, albeit slowly, and the affordability of feature phones alone was not enough to stop this segment of the market declining in Q2 2019. Smartphones, on the other hand, enjoyed a recovery from the decline in shipments seen in Q1 2019."
Transsion (Tecno, Infinix, and Itel brands), Samsung, and Huawei were the smartphone market's leaders in shipment terms in Q2 2019, with respective market shares of 37.4 per cent, 27.4 per cent, and 8.7 per cent.
However, Samsung had the highest share by dollar value at 40.3 per cent, followed Transsion (21.9 per cent) and Huawei (12.2 per cent). Samsung's dominant revenue position in the market is sustained through timely product launches across all African markets, particularly in relation to its A-Series devices, which are shipped in large volumes.
Shipments of 4G-enabled smartphones increased 6.6 per cent QoQ in Q2 2019 to account for 70.8 per cent of the total smartphone market, spurred by the declining prices of LTE devices.
IDC forecasts that 4G-enabled phones will constitute 74.4 per cent of the African smartphone market by the end of 2020, with 5G phones tipped to garner 0.4 per cent share. "5G-enabled smartphones are expected to be introduced to the African market by end of Q3 2019," a research manager at IDC, Ramazan Yavuz, said, adding that "the first country to see the launch of 5G phones is likely to be South Africa, where the 5G infrastructure is being developed by Ericsson in partnership with MTN."
Looking ahead, IDC expects Africa's smartphone market to grow 4.7 per cent QoQ in Q3 2019 to total 22.8 million units. Despite feature phones experiencing an average QoQ decline of 1.8 per cent in unit shipments between Q1 2018 and Q2 2019, the feature phone market will grow slightly in Q3 2019, with shipments increasing 0.1 per cent QoQ to total 30.5 million units, spurred by the introduction of support for basic applications and the ability of these devices to serve as power banks.