African smartphone shipments bounce back

Africa’s smartphone market bounced back from two consecutive declines to post quarter-on-quarter growth of 4.4% in Q3 2017, according to the latest¬†Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker¬†from IDC.

Smartphone shipments for the quarter reached 21.7 million units, spurred by ongoing economic recoveries in some of the continent’s major markets. Year on year, shipments were down -5.5%, but this still represents an improvement on the YoY performance seen in the previous two quarters.

  • Feature phone shipments totaled 33.7 million units, down -3.6% QoQ after increasing for the three previous quarters. However, YoY, the feature phone market was up 11.5%.
  • Feature phones still constitute a significant 60.8% share of the total mobile phone market as they adequately address the needs of African consumers that have limited purchasing power and require a reliable long-lasting mode of communication, particularly those in rural areas.
  • Combined smartphones and feature phones shipments totaled 55.4 million units in Q3 2017, which represents a slight QoQ decrease of -0.7% but an increase of 4.2% YoY.
  • There were contrasting fortunes for the continent’s two biggest markets, with Nigeria seeing shipments increase 1.7% QoQ while South Africa suffered a decline of -8.0% over the same period.

The Nigerian economy is slowly coming out of recession and we’re seeing signs of steady improvement in consumer demand for mobile phones.

Ramazan Yavuz, a research manager at IDC

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