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Smartphones Skyrocketing in Africa

The handset market grew to its largest size in 2014, expanding over 25% year on year to total 64 million units – and the largest growth seen in smartphones.

Majority of this growth was seen in the smartphone category, with a major shift underway in the composition of the market. The smartphone share of the overall MEA handset market jumped 13 percentage points year on year to reach 40% in Q2 2014, with that figure reaching as high as 7580% in some of the regions more developed countries. In Africa, Egypt and South Africa posted the largest year-on-year handset shipment growth, at 37% and 32%, respectively; while in the Middle East, the top growth spot was taken by the UAE and Qatar, with respective growth of 27% and 32%.

This is because phones are no longer simply a means of communication between people. Indeed, smartphones are becoming a way of expression and a window to the rest of the world, and this aspect is proving particularly important in lesser developed countries that are suffering from unrelenting political turmoil.

Vendor leaders

In the smartphone class, Samsung remains the comfortable leader with 45% of the MEA market, but its share is down 8 points from a year ago. Huaweis share has jumped from 2% to 10%, putting the vendor in second place, ahead of Apple (8%) and Nokia (6%). BlackBerry continued to suffer, enduring the biggest drop in smartphone market share of all vendors, from over 12% in 2013 to just under 2% this year, IDC noted. In the feature phone segment, Nokia is still top with 35% share, although this is down from 47% in Q2 2013. Techno, Samsung, and Qmobile (a brand from Pakistan) follow in that order, with shares of 11.5%, 10.7%, and 7.3% respectively, all of which also reflect year-on-year share declines.

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