According to International Data Corporation (IDC), the African smartphone market will contract by 18% year-on-year in 2022. The slump was driven by slowing inflation in consumer spending and economic uncertainty, but was not confined to Africa as smartphone shipments fell in key markets over the past year. smartphone market increased by 11.3%.
A total of 73.4 million units were shipped to Africa, with South Korean Samsung and Chinese brands Tecno and Itel accounting for 65% of total shipments.
Devices priced under $200 accounted for 82% of all smartphone shipments, indicating that cheap Chinese products make up the bulk of the shipment. Egypt and Tunisia recorded the biggest year-on-year declines of 63% and 33% respectively.
Egypt’s decline is due to new taxes and import restrictions, leading to a severe shortage of smartphones and soaring gadget prices. Egypt’s requirement to make all import payments by letter of credit (LC) has seriously disrupted the market as the country allows few in favor of essential goods. The country’s depreciation and tough economic environment are also said to have had a negative impact on the market. Tunisia has been hit by smartphone tariffs and tax hikes. Kenya and South Africa were least affected, with 4% and 5% year-on-year declines respectively.
“Equity finance platforms and being a supply market in the East African subregion have helped Kenya record a relatively modest decline, while South Africa has seen Chinese brands push the country into the spotlight and local brands withdrew and benefited from government-paid subsidies,” Dr. Ramazan Yavuz, senior research manager at IDC Middle East and Africa, told TechCrunch.
However, Yavuz predicts recovery across the continent this year.
“2022 was a year of weakness for the African smartphone market, but is expected to return to growth over the medium term. It will be facilitated by the influx of cheaper models to offset the decline in disposable income for the elderly.” “Second, there is a growing migration from feature phones to smartphones, and a rapidly growing population of tech-savvy youth. Two factors are important to the optimistic outlook for the large smartphone market.”
On the continent, 93.4 million feature phones shipped in 2022, the market also fell 18% year-on-year.