We all have our reservations when it comes to brands, especially with smartphones, we have loyalists then we have those who make their decisions based entirely on how much value they can squeeze from a device. According to research firm Ovum, the smartphone penetration rate will grow at 52.9% year-on-year. Currently, there are 293.8 million smartphone users across the African continent.

With such numbers, it is really only fair if we could know who is who when it comes to the top smartphone brands. Thanks to stats from AppBrain, we were able to study smartphone trends in 5 African countries with the highest smartphone penetration. Surprisingly, Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana have similar trends when it comes to the most popular smartphones with Infinix leading the pack of the top 10 smartphones in each of these countries.

South Africa

With a smartphone penetration of 34%, the highest in Africa, South Africa is at the peak when it comes to smartphone usage and maybe that is why they are always having issues with their telcos and are always up in arms on Twitter with hashtags such as #DataMustFall.

In South Africa, Samsung takes up 8 spots of the country’s most used smartphones. The most common Android smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy J1 Ace that was released back in 2015. Huawei takes up the rest of the spots with the P8 Lite and P9 Lite taking up positions 3 and 5 respectively.


Nigeria has a smartphone penetration of 27%. As one of the largest economies in the continent, it is quite interesting that Infinix devices are the most popular in the country, taking up 7 spots in the top 10 most common devices. Infinix Hot 4 is the most common device in Nigeria with a market share of 3.3%. The rest of the 3 spots in top 10 are taken by Infinix’s older sibling, TECNO.

It is safe to say that Transsion, the company behind Infinix and TECNO, runs Nigeria. A point to note, all the phones on Nigeria’s list cost less than Ksh.15,000 ($145).


Coming in with a smartphone penetration of 15%, Kenya’s most common device is the Infinix Hot 4 Lite. A similar trend with Nigeria, 9 out of the 10 most common smartphones are all priced under Ksh,15,000 ($145). Infinix takes up 5 spots in Kenya’s top 10, followed closely with TECNO taking up 4 slots and Samsung sneaking in with one spot – the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2015) is the most common Samsung device and the third most common device in Kenya.



If you were like me, you are also surprised to learn that Senegal has a smartphone penetration of 15%, similar to Kenya (bubble burst). However, unlike Kenya, Transsion footprints have not made a huge mark in this Africa west coast country. Samsung devices take up 7 of the 10 most common devices used in Senegal with the Galaxy J1 Ace taking the crown with a market share of 7.8%. Notable mention, Transsion’s itel takes up two spots on the list.


Ghana has a smartphone penetration rate of 14% and similar to Kenya, the top 10 slots are shared between Infinix, Samsung and TECNO with Infinix being greedy and taking up 6 spots, leaving Samsung and TECNO with two slots each. The most common device is the Infinix Hot 4 Lite and quite notably, the Samsung Galaxy S5 takes up position 4 with the Galaxy S4 coming in at number 6.

I cannot conclude without taking a look at our neighbours, Tanzania and Uganda. Tanzania has TECNO grabbing 8 slots with the W3 taking up number one, leaving Samsung with 2 slots, eight and ninth, filled by the Galaxy J7 and Galaxy Note 3 smartphones.

Uganda is a must mention, considering their government’s crackdown on Porn and sexting. The country shares TECNO and Samsung equally, both taking up 5 slots each. Information that might be related to the aforementioned crackdown or not, 7 out of the 10 devices all have 5.5-inch HD screens.

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Special mention, Democratic Republic of Congo. There are rumours that state that Congolese are flashy and after looking at these stats, I really believe it. The recently launched Samsung Galaxy S8 already has a market share of 3.3% and Samsung’s flagship devices; Galaxy S7 Edge, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+ and Note 5 also make it to the top 10 devices in the country. This is a trend we have not seen anywhere else in the continent. Seriously.

Read More: Africans Love Data Saving Apps According to These Google Play Store Insights


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