Supply shortages, inflation push prices of smartphones up
Newly released data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker shows that Africa’s overall mobile phone market suffered a year-on-year (YoY) decline of 11.3 per cent in Q4 2021 to total 48.6 million units. The feature phone market was down 14.3 per cent to 27.1 million units, while smartphone shipments declined 7.1 per cent to 21.5 million units.
IDC noted that Africa’s major smartphone markets (South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt) all experienced a downturn in Q4 2021, except South Africa, which saw slight YoY growth. Global supply shortages were the main reason for the declines seen across the region, while Egypt was further hampered by the introduction of new tariffs amounting to 10 per cent on mobile phone imports.
According to the report, Transsion brands (Tecno, Infinix, and Itel) continued to lead Africa’s smartphone space in Q4 2021, with a combined unit share of 47.9 per cent, followed by Samsung and Xiaomi (including Poco) with respective shares of 19.6 per cent and 7.1 per cent. Transsion brands also dominated the feature phone market, with a combined unit share of 78.0 per cent, followed by Nokia (8.6 per cent) and Alcatel (2.0 per cent).
The low-end price bands (less than $200) continued to dominate Africa’s smartphone market in Q4 2021 with 81.1 per cent share of shipments, although this was down from 86.8 per cent in Q4 2020. The midrange price band ($200 to $400) saw its share increase from 10.1 per cent to 14 per cent over the same period.
Senior Research Analyst at IDC, Taher Abdel-Hameed, said: “Global supply shortages, inflationary pressures, and improved specs and capabilities are driving the average price of smartphones upwards. “The growth in the midrange price band can be attributed to the launch of new feature-rich models by key vendors like Samsung, Xiaomi, and Transsion. This price band is expected to maintain its growth momentum over the long term.”
Looking ahead, IDC expects the African smartphone market to grow 3.8 per cent YoY in unit terms for 2022 as a whole.
According to another Senior Research Manager at IDC, Ramazan Yavuz, mobile phone imports constitute a notable portion of the current account deficit in many African countries.
“Considering the macroeconomic challenges faced by economies across the region, African governments will keep an eye on taxes and import tariffs on mobile phones. New import tariffs and increased tax rates have been implemented in North African countries and similar changes can be expected in many other African markets shortly,” he added.