Component shortages disrupt African smartphone market growth

Shipments declined by 2.3% quarter-on-quarter to Q3 2021, but "feature phone" market grew

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. A Samsung employee arranges the new Samsung Galaxy S10e, S10, S10+ and the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G smartphones at a press event in London, Britain February 20, 2019.

Image used for illustrative purpose. A Samsung employee arranges the new Samsung Galaxy S10e, S10, S10+ and the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G smartphones at a press event in London, Britain February 20, 2019.

REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Component shortages have impacted Africa’s smartphone markets, with shipments declining by 2.3 percent quarter-on-quarter to Q3 2021, according to a new report by the International Data Corporation (IDC).

In contrast, the market for “feature phones” or less sophisticated phones that do not allow apps to be downloaded, grew by 14.2 percent in the same period.

The continent’s top three smartphone markets saw differing performances - Egypt declined 19.5 percent quarter-on-quarter, while Nigeria was down 9.4 percent, with both dominated by Chinese brands that had lower shipments due to component shortages. However, South Africa, saw shipments increase 28.4 percent, due to a strong quarter for Finland’s Nokia and South Korea’s Samsung.

The average selling prices (ASP) for smartphones in the third quarter of 2021 declined by 0.7 percent, due to new models being launched in the entry-level price brands, IDC said. Shipments of phones priced $0-$100 increased by 5.9 percent, while devices priced $100-$200, declined by 14.1 percent and $200-$400 by 0.7 percent.

4G phones accounted for 81 percent of smartphones shipped into Africa followed by 3G devices with a 15.9 percent market share and 5G devices with a 3.1 percent share.

“The 5G market is still below its full potential in Africa due to poor telecommunications infrastructure,” said George Mbuthia, research analyst at IDC.

“4G will remain dominant as telcos are keen on recouping the huge investments they made in 4G infrastructure that is yet to be fully utilised,” he continued.

“The relatively high cost of 5G devices is another inhibitor. In the longer term, however, prices will start declining as more vendors launch affordable 5G models.”

IDC said smartphone shipments are expected to increase by 7.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2021, with more stable recovery expected in 2022 as component supply chain issues resolve. The transition from feature phones to smartphones will accelerate at this point, the company said.

(Reporting by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Seban Scaria)

Imogen.lillywhite@refinitiv.com

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© ZAWYA 2021

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