Africa’s overall mobile phone market had a year-on-year (YoY) growth of 14.0 percent in the first quarter to 53.3 million units, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).
Its report says the region’s smartphone market grew 16.8 percent in Q1 to 23.4 million units, with the feature phone market up 11.9 percent to 29.9 million units.
Major African smartphone markets performed well with the exception of South Africa, where the main vendors faced supply shortages and an economic environment that hit demand.
Egypt had one of the highest growth rates in the region in Q1 thanks to strong local demand, the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, and major vendors like Samsung and Oppo increasing their shipments to the country.
Nigeria also had a strong YoY growth rate with the release of pent-up demand and increasing shipments of Transsion and Samsung devices to the market.
Transsion brands (Tecno, Infinix, and Itel) continued to lead Africa’s smartphone space in Q1, with a combined unit share of 44.3 percent, followed by Samsung and Oppo with respective shares of 22.9 percent and 8.3 percent.
Transsion brands also dominate the feature phone market, with a combined unit share of 78.7 percent, followed by Nokia and Stylo with respective shares of 8.1 percent and 1.7 percent. The ultra-low price band (below USD 100) accounted for 42.0 percent of the market’s shipments in Q1 2021, down from 49.6 percent in Q1 2020.
The low-end price band (USD 100 to USD 200) saw its share increase from 35.2 percent to 43.3 percent over the same period. The increased specifications and attributes in smartphones are driving prices upwards, as shown by the growth of the low-end price band, IDC said.
Main vendors such as Transsion, Samsung, Oppo and Xiaomi all launched new feature-rich models in this price band. These models were well received by channels and customers alike.
Looking ahead, IDC expects Africa’s smartphone market to grow 5.6 percent YoY in unit terms for 2021 as a whole.