Chinese smartphone brands top Africa's market in Q3

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Transsion Holdings, a China-based smartphone manufacturer, led the African smartphone market in the third quarter with a unit share of 47.4 percent, maintaining stable shipments into the region, according to the latest study by a global research firm released in Nairobi Monday.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) said Transsion, which manufactures Tecno, Infinix, and Itel brands, outpaced Samsung which is placed second with 21.3 percent share, while Xiaomi which experienced a quarter on quarter (QoQ) decline in shipments placed third with 6.1 percent share.

"The 5G market is still below its full potential in Africa due to poor telecommunications infrastructure," George Mbuthia, a research analyst at IDC said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

Mbuthia said the 4G will remain dominant as telecom firms are keen on recouping the huge investments they made in the 4G infrastructure that is yet to be fully utilized.

"The relatively high cost of 5G devices is another inhibitor. In the longer term, however, prices will start declining as more vendors launch affordable 5G models," he said.

The study shows that Africa's smartphone market saw shipments decline 2.3 percent QoQ during Q3. While the region displayed signs of recovery in H1 2021, IDC said component shortages began to negatively impact African markets in Q3, causing a decline in smartphone shipments.

In contrast, says the reports, Africa's feature phone market remains buoyant, growing 14.2 percent QoQ. "With smartphone prices remaining relatively high and only expected to increase over the coming following quarters, the affordable prices of feature phones make these devices extremely attractive," IDC said.

According to IDC, Africa's top three smartphone markets recorded mixed performances as Egypt saw shipments decline 19.5 percent QoQ, while Nigeria was down 9.4 percent over the same period. The report says both of these markets are dominated by Chinese brands that had lower shipments due to component shortages.

South Africa, on the other hand, saw shipments increase by 28.4 percent QoQ growth, with Nokia performing well with its competitive C-series models and Samsung having a strong quarter in preparation for the festive season.

The average selling price (ASP) for smartphones declined 0.7 percent QoQ due to new models being launched in the entry-level price bands.

The below 100 U.S. dollar price saw shipments increase 5.9 percent QoQ, while shipments of devices in the 100-200 dollars and 200-400 dollar price bands declined 14.1 percent and 0.7 percent respectively, the IDC said.

It says 4G devices accounted for 81.0 percent of smartphones shipped into the region in Q3 2021, followed by 3G devices with 15.9 percent share and 5G devices with just 3.1 percent share.

IDC expects smartphone shipments into Africa to grow 7.6 percent QoQ in Q4. A more stable recovery in the supply chain is expected starting from the second half of 2022 when component shortages will start to ease.

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