Canalys has posted its quarterly analysis of the smartphone market in Africa and it looks promising compared to other regions of the world. Between July and September 2023, the continent saw 17.9 million total smartphone shipments, up 12 percent from the same period last year.
The company behind brands like Techno, Infinix and Itel, remains the undisputed leader with a market share of 48%, almost double that of the second largest company – Samsung.
The region has shown strong strength in both demand and supply, in contrast to the macroeconomic challenges these producers are facing. South Africa, for example, experienced a 20% growth rate due to rapid currency depreciation.
Customers want mid-range devices with large screens and batteries to keep them entertained during power outages, said Manish Pravinkumar, senior consultant at Canalys. Nigeria and Egypt saw an increase in sales of entry-level smartphones, with Xiaomi prioritizing sales of the Redmi Note 12 4G, Redmi 12 and Redmi 12C variants.
Egypt, for example, has faced a shortage of hard currency to pay for imports, including smartphones, following the war in Ukraine and the outflow of foreign direct investment. Now, the import ban has been lifted, and the country has seen a 19 percent growth in smartphone growth.
While Transsion, Xiaomi and Realme are all working on pushing their affordable devices, Samsung took it in a different direction. The company continued sales of the Galaxy A series to maintain volume, but decided to introduce flexible devices to position itself in the less popular premium segment in Africa.
Canalis explained that Huawei’s strategy in the region is to work with local software providers. In this way, it solves the lack of GSM on its Android devices and increases the usability of Huawei Mobile Services.
The growth in Africa is not a one-time surprise, Canales explained. However, demand is expected to slow, and growth will be limited to single-digit percentages by 2024.
Countries across the continent are increasingly using smartphones. However, there are still barriers such as currency depreciation, income tax and government initiatives to promote domestic products, and the cost and inflation of imported goods such as smartphones.