Newly released data from IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker shows that Africa's overall mobile phone market suffered an on-year (YoY) decline of 19.9% in the third quarter of 2022 to total 42.2 million units. The feature phone market was down 20.1% on year to 24.4 million units, while smartphone shipments declined 19.8% to 17.8 million units, which represents a very low quarterly smartphone volume for the continent.
All of Africa's smartphone markets experienced on-year declines in the third quarter of 2022, with the two major markets of South Africa and Nigeria falling 16.2% and 21.1%, respectively. "The declines seen across the continent were caused by an overall slow economy, high inflation rates, higher dollar exchange rates, and the increasing cost of living," said Taher Abdel-Hameed, a senior research analyst at IDC. "All of these factors contributed to a slowdown in demand, which in turn forced most of vendors to cut their shipments into African markets."
Egypt's smartphone market declined 73.4% on year due to the introduction of government regulations around imports. "The Egyptian government has introduced several restrictions on mobile phone imports," said Abdel-Hameed. "These restrictions — which include requirements for all import payments to be conducted via letters of credit (LCs) and for all LCs to be approved by the central bank, with limited approvals granted so far — have caused a huge dip in the market."
Transsion brands (Tecno, Infinix, and Itel) continued to lead Africa's smartphone market in the third quarter of 2022, with a combined unit share of 47.4%, followed by Samsung and Xiaomi with respective shares of 25.9% and 6.4%. Transsion brands also dominated the feature phone market, with a combined unit share of 79.1%, followed by Nokia (6.1%).
The low-end price bands (less than US$200) continued to dominate Africa's smartphone market in the third quarter of 2022, accounting for 83.6% share of shipments. The major increase versus the third quarter of 2021 was seen within the US$100 to US$200 price range. The mid-range price band (US$200 to US$400) maintained its position in the rankings, suffering a slight decline in share from 12.8% in the third quarter of 2021 to 11.6% in the third quarter of 2022.
Looking ahead, IDC expects the African smartphone market to grow 8.8% on year in unit terms in 2023. "While 2022 has been a year of downturn in the African smartphone market, especially with Egypt undergoing a challenging period, a return to growth is expected in 2023," said Ramazan Yavuz, a senior research manager at IDC. "This growth will be spurred by a recovery in the Egyptian market and an influx of more affordable models to offset declining consumer disposable income in most countries across the region."
IDC: Africa handset shipment share by price segments, 3Q21-3Q22
3Q21 shipment share
4Q21 shipment share
1Q22 shipment share
2Q22 shipment share
3Q22 shipment share
Ultra low-end (<US$100)
Source: IDC, compiled by DIGITIMES, December 2022