By Gugu Lourie
Samsung, Tecno, and Apple were the leading smartphone vendors in Africa during the first quarter of 2015, with Huawei being ousted from the top three, according to the global technology consulting firm International Data Corporation (IDC) Mobile Phone Tracker.
The three leading vendors accounted for a combined 55% share of Africa’s smartphone shipments in the first quarter of 2015.
Smartphones sales were up 66% during the first quarter to reach more than 36 million units being shipped by vendors in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.
The Mobile Phone Tracker predicts that MEA smartphone shipments are set to total 155 million units by the end of 2015.
The strong growth in the region’s smartphone market is largely being driven by the emergence of low-priced devices that are primarily powered by Android.
Indeed, almost half of all the smartphones shipped across Africa (45.1%) in the first quarter of 2015 were priced below $100, while almost 75% fall under $200.
“This price bracket seems to be the sweet point for most vendors launching in the region, as well as for established vendors looking to increase their shares by targeting the lower end of the market,” says Nabila Popal, research manager for IDC’s Mobile Phone Tracker in the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.
“This has resulted in phones priced under $200 accounting for about 36% of the Middle East smartphone market, while at the other end of the spectrum the $450+ price band has seen its share fall from 25% in Africa and 48% in the Middle East a year ago, to 14% and 34% today.”
Nigeria and South Africa contributed significantly to the overall growth seen in Africa, with the countries experiencing year-on-year
growth of 135% and 56%, respectively.
Nigeria accounted for 14% of all smartphone shipments across the continent during the first quarter of 2015, while South Africa was responsible for 12%.
“This comes at the expense of feature phones, which suffered year-on-year declines of around 20% in both regions and will make up just 27% of the overall MEA handset market by the end of 2019,” said the IDC.
BlackBerry losing market share
BlackBerry once again suffered significant year-on-year declines across the region in the first quarter of 2015, with the vendor’s shipments falling 14% in Africa and 29% in the Middle East.
“The launch of a number of new models by the vendor seems to have had little impact on lifting the BlackBerry brand out of its continuing decline,” says Isaac T. Ngatia, a senior research analyst at IDC.
“The loss of the corporate segment, spurred by the continued uptake of bring-your-own-device policies among the region’s enterprises, has had an adverse effect on BlackBerry’s performance in the market.”