The smartphone market in Africa recovered strongly in the first quarter of 2021 after a difficult 2020. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the region’s smartphone sales rose 16.8% to 23.4 million units in the first three months of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020. Feature phone sales also went up by 11.9% to 29.9 million phones in the period under review.
The sharp growth in Q1 2021 was supported by strong sales in major smartphone markets like Egypt and Nigeria which experienced high demand for smartphones and increased shipments from phone vendors. However, South Africa, a leading smartphone market in the continent, did not perform well due to supply shortages and a tough economic environment that affected demand for the product.
China’s Transsion brands, which manufactures Techno, Infinix, and Itel phones dominated Africa’s smartphone market in the first quarter of 2021, with a 44.3% market share. Samsung and Oppo came in second and third respectively with a market share of 22.9% and 8.3%. Transsion brands also held the top position in feature phone sales with a market share of 78.7% while Nokia and Stylo came in second and third position.
The main phone companies, Transsion, Samsung, Oppo, and Xiaomi launched new mobile units with additional features, which led to increased sales of low-end phones in Africa.
In the Global market, Samsung was the winner in smartphone sales in Q1 2021, shipping 76.6 million units throughout the world. Apple took second position with 59.5 million shipments around the globe.
IDC projects that Africa’s smart phone sales will rise by 5.6% in 2021 as economies recover from the pandemic slump. “With vaccination programs expected to accelerate and economies slowly regaining health in the second half of the year, consumer demand is expected to pick up, helping the region’s smartphone markets to build on the growth seen in Q1 2021 throughout the remainder of the year,” said Ramazan Yavuz, a senior research manager at IDC.