Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Digital Inclusion

African Smartphone Demand to Boost Growth in MEA in 2017 – GfK

Article Image
The smartphone market in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) remained somewhat sluggish in the second quarter of 2017, but a recent report from research firm GfK predicted that the market would grow in 2017 primarily due to demand from African countries.

In the second quarter of 2017, smartphone sales in MEA increased just 1% year-on-year to 42.2 million units -- even though GfK AG described the quarter as the strongest second quarter on record for the global market, with sales increasing 4% to 347 million units. In terms of sales value, the MEA market declined 7% to $9.9 billion.

The research firm said the slowdown in growth over recent quarters in MEA "is largely due to macroeconomic weakness in the region and device saturation in the Middle East. Egypt in particular is experiencing very high inflation. Demand here declined 4% year-on-year in 2Q, while GfK forecasts a fall of 10% in 2017."

However, GfK noted that MEA is a large and diverse region and predicted that overall smartphone demand will increase by 5% year-on-year in 2017, to reach 176.2 million units. That would put the market in fourth place after China, emerging Asia and North America. "Growth will come primarily from those Sub-Saharan and South African countries where smartphone penetration is still relatively low," the company added.

Previous figures from IDC also pointed to a sharp dip in shipments of mobile phones to Africa during the first three months of 2017 compared with the previous quarter. According to IDC, overall shipments in Africa during the first quarter of this year totaled 54.5 million units, down 8.2% compared with the fourth quarter of 2016. The "prime driver" of the downturn was a 17.6% decline in smartphone shipments, which fell from 25.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2016 to 21.2 million units in the first quarter of 2017, IDC said at the time. (See Africa's Mobile Phone Market Suffers Sequential Slump in Q1 – IDC.)

In terms of smartphone vendor rankings, IDC also noted that Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) was still the leader in the first quarter of 2017, with a 29.8% share, followed by China's Transsion Holdings with a 23.9% share. Transsion dominates the feature phone market, with its Tecno and itel brands accounting for about 60% of the African market in the first quarter of 2017.

According to the Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC) of Taiwan, Tecno had a majority market share of the feature phone and smartphone market in Tanzania and Nigeria in 2016.

GfK said emerging markets are continuing to drive smartphone growth. Arndt Polifke, global director of telecoms research at GfK, added that where macroeconomic factors and consumer confidence are having an impact, "operators and retailers are employing localized tactics to ensure the smartphone remains the connected device of choice.

"The record [global] demand for smartphones in the second quarter this year shows that, despite saturation in some markets, the desire to own a smartphone is a worldwide phenomenon. How that manifests itself differs widely by region," Polifke said.

— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Connecting Africa Podcast: Ep. 8 – Edtech for the future of work

This week we are joined by Eyitayo Ogunmola, CEO of Utiva, which is a startup offering technology skills training to prepare young people for the the future of work.

Story

Hot startup of the month: Malawi's Converged Technology Networks

Startup Converged Technology Networks is focused on addressing the unmet demand for residential broadband Internet access in Malawi.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: October 2021

By Omdia Analysts

Across the Middle East and Africa, regulators are beginning to facilitate spectrum allocation to operators in the region for the deployment of new and innovative technology.

Story

Research Bites: Why Africans stop using mobile apps

By Chinedu Wilfred Okonkwo, Magda Huisman and Estelle Taylor

This article – in collaboration with the African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development – explores the reasons behind why Africans stop using certain mobile apps.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

AfricaCom perspectives

Story

Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.

Story

Accelerating women in STEM: In conversation with GirlCode's Tinyiko Simbine

GirlCode co-founder and CFO Tinyiko Simbine talks about why it's important to help girls and young women excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Story

How Poa Internet is unlocking meaningful connectivity in East Africa

Poa Internet's CEO Andy Halsall shares his views on what it takes to develop last-mile connectivity and get Africans online in a meaningful way.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Flash poll

All polls

Archived webinars

Meeting SME’s where they are - Building inclusive ecosystems for Africa’s small business owners

Micro and small businesses have been, and still are, the spine and lifeblood of the African economy, making up 90% of businesses on the continent.

Many of these businesses have still been operating in traditional ways and serving non-digital customers. With Covid-19 expediting the digital transformation process, businesses - big and small - have been forced to adapt to operate successfully in a more digital-first environment.

To ensure that the digitalization of Africa’s market doesn’t leave micro and small businesses behind, digital solutions must be inclusive and create business-ready environments. But how can we ensure that African SMEs become digitally enabled?

In this webinar we will share from our own experience on how to create such an environment, and the actions we took in vcita to get there, including:

  • Closing the digital literacy gap through tech inclusion 
  • Making a positive impact on local communities
  • Building the foundations for digital inclusion and small business growth in a technology-accelerated world
  • Building the foundations for digital inclusion and small business growth in a technology-accelerated world

Register Here >>

More Webinars

Sponsored video

More videos

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up