Africa’s Smartphone Market Records 12% Growth in Q3 2023 as TRANSSION Leads
The Africa’s smartphone market saw a second consecutive quarter of strong recovery in Q3 2023.
Despite macroeconomic challenges, import restrictions, and volatile currencies in key markets, latest Canalys analysis shows the region experienced an impressive 12% year-on-year growth in shipments, totaling 17.9 million units.
TRANSSION maintained its leading position in Africa’s smartphone market, and achieved 9% annual growth, securing a dominant 48% market share.
The company is strategically expanding its footprint, especially in emerging markets, focusing on price bands below US$100.
Samsung, hit by a 13% decline due to challenges in its mid-to-high-end devices, retained second position with a 26% market share.
Xiaomi and OPPO’s successful resurgence with impressive annual growth rates of 100% and 259%, respectively were fueled by significant investments, especially in the Egyptian market, which contributed to positive Q3 results.
realme’s iconic Number series helped garner an impressive 11% growth. At its core is the C series which is hailed as the brand’s ‘Hero range’ for its focus on innovative high-spec, low-cost pricing.
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“The African market demonstrates strong resilience in demand and supply amid macroeconomic challenges,” said Canalys Senior Consultant, Manish Pravinkumar. “Despite rapid currency devaluation, South Africa’s smartphone market exhibited a remarkable growth of 20%. This surge was fueled by the demand for entry-level devices, particularly catering to the extensive pre-paid segment. Additionally, mid-tier devices experienced heightened demand, the prevalence of load-shedding contributed to this trend, as people increasingly prioritize smartphones with quality screens and robust battery life to keep them entertained during power outages. Nigeria’s smartphone market expanded substantially, with TRANSSION playing a pivotal role by offering entry-level devices and Xiaomi successfully positioning itself as an aspirational brand for many consumers, gaining popularity with products such as the Redmi series A2, Note 12 4G, 12, and 12C. A strategy also successful for Xiaomi in North African countries such as Egypt and Morocco. Egypt experienced double-digit 19% growth in smartphone shipments, signaling vendors have successfully addressed the challenges posed by strict import restrictions in the previous year.”
“Vendors’ local teams are leveraging the strengths of their brand assets and global product portfolios to augment market positions in Africa,” Pravinkumar continues. “TRANSSION, through initiatives such as the Takenow device financing schemes for TECNO and collaborations with Easybuy, has not only boosted sales but also advocated for an increase in Average Selling Price (ASP). HONOR and Xiaomi are making significant impacts by introducing diverse products at accessible price points. This strategic move aims to expedite the transition from basic feature phones to smartphones, injecting excitement into markets. Meanwhile Samsung maintained it’s A-series to drive volume. And, confronted with the challenge of consumers preferring mid-range devices from Xiaomi, OPPO, and realme, Samsung proactively promoted foldable devices to secure a prominent position in the premium segment. Huawei has been collaborating with local software suppliers in South Africa, continually enhancing the usability of HMS and tackling the lack of GMS.”
“While witnessing significant growth in the third quarter of 2023, Canalys foresees limited expansion in the region, expecting single-digit growth in 2024,” highlighted Pravinkumar.
“Channel partners and vendors are grappling with challenges such as currency devaluation, increased import taxes, and government initiatives promoting local production, potentially leading to cost and price hikes. Nevertheless, the availability of device financing schemes from operators and channel partners could significantly enhance accessibility and boost adoption rates. Looking forward, the next few years are anticipated to witness a plateau in 2G, while 4G and 5G are positioned for robust growth. While there is a slight possibility of disruption if governments choose to phase out 2G networks, this scenario is unlikely in the short term.
“Essentially, Africa’s smartphone market narrative unfolds as a compelling story of overcoming challenges with resilience and capitalizing on opportunities through strategic partnerships, channel dynamics, and a transforming consumer landscape.
As the market evolves, vendors must navigate these complexities with agility and foresight to secure a pivotal position in this burgeoning market,” the report reads.
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