Chinese smartphone brands top Africa's market

File photo: CFP

NAIROBI, June 8 (Xinhua) -- Transsion Holdings, a China-based smartphone manufacturer, has outpaced Samsung in the African market as it leads with a combined unit share of 44.3 percent, according to the latest study by a global research firm released in Nairobi Tuesday.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) said Transsion, which manufactures Tecno, Infinix, and Itel brands, was followed by Samsung and Oppo with respective shares of 22.9 percent and 8.3 percent. Transsion brands also dominated the feature phone market, with a combined unit share of 78.7 percent, followed by Nokia and Stylo with respective shares of 8.1 percent and 1.7 percent.

IDC said Africa's overall mobile phone market enjoyed year-on-year growth of 14 percent in the first quarter (Q1) of the year to total 53.3 million units. And the continent's smartphone market grew 16.8 percent over the same period to 23.4 million units, while the feature phone market was up 11.9 percent to 29.9 million units.

"The increased specs and attributes in smartphones are driving prices upwards, as evidenced by the growth of the low-end price band," said Taher Abdel-Hameed, a senior research analyst at IDC. The main vendors, like Transsion, Samsung, Oppo, and Xiaomi, all launched new feature-rich models, ultra-low-end price bands of below 10,790 shillings (about 100 U.S. dollars).

"These models were well received by channels and customers alike, feeding the growth of the low-end price band," he said. The ultra-low-end price band -- less than 100 dollars -- accounted for 42 percent of the market's shipments in Q1 2021, down from 49.6 percent in Q1 2020.

The study says the low-end price band -- 100 to 200 -- dollars saw its share increase from 35.2 percent to 43.3 percent over the same period.

The smartphone market's growth was spurred by the release of several new models by Android vendors, according to the study.

Ramazan Yavuz, a senior research manager at IDC, said despite supply shortages impacting mobile phone vendors, the major brands succeeded in broadening their model portfolios and driving growth in their shipments into Africa during Q1 2021.

"With vaccination programs expected to accelerate and economies slowly regaining health in the second half of the year, consumer demand is expected to pick up, helping the region's smartphone markets to build on the growth seen in Q1 2021 throughout the remainder of the year," Yavuz added.

The report says the major smartphone markets performed well during Q1 with the exception of South Africa, where the main vendors faced supply shortages and an economic environment that negatively impacted demand.