In the third quarter of 2023, smartphone shipments in Nigeria and across Africa experienced a noteworthy 12% year-on-year growth, defying economic challenges. According to the latest report from global research firm Canalys, a total of 17.9 million smartphone units were shipped to the continent during this period.
Despite facing macroeconomic hurdles, import restrictions, and currency volatility in key markets like Nigeria, the African smartphone market demonstrated resilience. In contrast, the global smartphone market experienced a one percent decline during the same period.
The report highlighted TRANSSION, the mobile group comprising Tecno, Infinix, and iTel brands, maintaining its leading position with a dominant 48% market share and achieving a commendable nine percent yearly growth. The company strategically expanded its footprint, particularly in emerging markets, focusing on price bands below $100. Samsung, facing a 13% decline due to challenges in its mid-to-high-end devices, retained the second position with a 26% market share.
Xiaomi and OPPO experienced successful resurgences with impressive annual growth rates of 100% and 259%, respectively, fueled by significant investments, especially in the Egyptian market. The Canalys Senior Consultant, Manish Pravinkumar, noted the strong resilience in the African market amid macroeconomic challenges, highlighting South Africa’s remarkable 20% growth in the smartphone market.
Pravinkumar attributed the surge to the demand for entry-level devices and the popularity of mid-tier devices, especially during power outages caused by load-shedding. He commended TRANSSION’s role in Nigeria’s substantial smartphone market expansion, offering entry-level devices, and Xiaomi’s successful positioning as an aspirational brand.
While Canalys anticipates limited expansion in the region in 2024 due to challenges such as currency devaluation, increased import taxes, and government initiatives promoting local production, it recognizes the potential of device financing schemes to enhance accessibility and boost adoption rates. Looking ahead, the report foresees a plateau in 2G, with robust growth expected in 4G and 5G over the next few years.