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Inside the Decline of Africa’s Smartphone Market


TechInAfrica – Smartphones seemed like a commodity that almost everyone has, or at least is acquainted with. They simply make our lives easier and more than often, they pull us throughout the day. From essential features like mail, instant messaging, maps, camera, to tertiary applications like YouTube, Instagram, and the occasional mobile games, it’s all in the palm of our hands to control. That’s one of the key factors causing why smartphones are so popular on numerous layers of society. Yet contrary to the trend, International Data Corporation (IDC) exposed that a staggering decline on Nigeria’s—and most African countries—smartphone shipment in the first quarter of 2019. This decline went as far as 7.1%, which eventually led questions from analysts and experts alike.

Arnold Ponela, one of IDC’s analysts, spoke that albeit shipments in general are experiencing a quarter-on-quarter decline, it’s actually having an increase of 5.6% in its year-on-year aspect. This serves as an indicator on showing improvements of the market, contrary to the quarter-on-quarter decline which can be quite normal considering disappointments in large markets tend to happen between Q4 and Q1. IDC also spoke that 2.3 million smartphone units were shipped of Nigeria within the first quarter of 2019. In addition, the country’s three-week embargo on shipments of Chinese mobile phones can also be attributed as the probable cause for the decline.

Smartphones of Africa via

With the first quarter usually being the slowest quarter of the year, seasonal factors can also have both significant and insignificant impact towards the falling trend. Contrarily, the fourth quarter is usually the fastest due to various shopping events like Christmas, Black Friday, and New Year. Growing popularity of low-end and mid-range devices across Africa potentially serve as a catalyst for the smartphone scene to flourish, IDC stated.

On a more positive side note, IDC predicts that 50.9 million units of mobile phones will take place in markets by the second quarter of the year. Feature phones still dominate the market, however, with a total of 59.9% of the total mobile phone market because of their flexibility and affordability for most users.

In manifesting the country’s future to contribute to global economy and trade environments, smartphones serve as a key foundation for Africans to stay connected and online. Although data tariffs have been discounted to properly suit the citizens’ needs, 2G and 3G mobile networks still seems like a susceptible option for most.



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Written by Charis Chrisna

Writer, author, part-time fallacious wanderer, and an avid Hotline Miami lover.

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