Africa’s Smartphone and Feature phone Shipments Decline in Q1 2019

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africa phone shipments down q1 2019
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According to the latest insights from the International Data Corporation (IDC), Africa’s smartphone market saw a decrease due to economic challenges.

Q1 2019 outlook in Africa

Apparently the smartphone market in the continent saw a 7.1% decrease quarter on quarter to a total of 21.5 million units.

The consulting firm shows that the two biggest markets, South Africa and Nigeria, under performed significantly. The two countries posted quarter on quarter decreases of 14.7% and 23.4% respectively.



In Nigeria, smartphone shipments were 2.3 million units in Q1 of 2019 which was a 11.9% drop year on year. This decline was attributed to a 3 week embargo on shipments of Chinese phone brands into the country, slow economic activity and further exacerbated by the widespread insecurity and postponement of the general election.

Down south, South Africa’s phone market contracted 4% year on year on year to a total of 4.7 million units. This was attributed to factors like Q1 being traditionally the slowest quarter of the year and the issue of overstocking due to volumes traditionally seen during Q4.

Biggest brands in Africa in Q1 2019

Transsion brands like Tecno and Itel still remain at the top when it comes to shipments in Africa. They accounted for 33.1 % of the shipment volume in Q1 2019. Samsung is still in second place with 24.5 % of the market. Huawei was third with a 11.8% of the market share.

Feature phones are still a big deal

Feature phones are still a huge deal in Africa where they constitute a 59.9% share of the total mobile phone market due to their affordability and durability. Tecno and Itel have a combined 59.7% share of the feature phone market while HMD has a 9.2% share. However, IDC saw a 5.8% decrease quarter on quarter in Q1 2019 regarding these types of phones. The total feature phone shipments totalled 31.6 million units.

State of LTE in Africa


IDC research shows that shipments of 4G LTE devices increased 15.1% year on year in Q1 2019 and constitutes 67.1% of the smartphone market. The growth is attributed to drop in prices of entry level 4G phones and discounted data plans.

Expectations for Q2 2019

IDC expects that the mobile phone market in Africa total to 50.9 million units in Q2 2019 which is a year on year decline of 5.3%. They predict this will be caused by sharp downturns in most countries due to challenging macroeconomic environments as well as global tensions surrounding international trade.

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