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Egypt smartphone market bucks COVID-19 decline trends

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Egypt managed to grow smartphone sales in the second quarter of 2020, while most markets in the Middle East and Africa suffered declines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is according to the latest research conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC) which shows that Egypt's smartphone market grew 2.2% quarter-on-quarter, to total 2.88 million units by the end of June 2020.

This growth was spurred by vendors focusing on pushing affordable phones into the market and accelerating their shipments before new import taxes were introduced at the end of June, IDC said.

Samsung was the market leader in Q2 2020 with 23.8% unit share, followed by Oppo in second place and Xiaomi in third.

In terms of price bands, the quarter saw a remarkable shift to the ultra-low-end, with devices priced below $100 growing their share of the market from 17.5% in the first quarter to 30.5% in the second.

Meanwhile, the low-end category, with devices that range from $100 to $200, dropped to 57.1% of sales in the second quarter, compared to 66.5% in the first quarter. High-end devices that cost more than $400 made up just 2% of second-quarter sales in Egypt, a decline from 3.2% a quarter before.

Egypt smartphone market by price band.  (Source: IDC 2020)
Egypt smartphone market by price band.
(Source: IDC 2020)

"While COVID-19 did not halt demand for smartphones in Egypt, it certainly led to a change in market dynamics on both the supply and demand sides," said Taher Abdel Hameed, a senior research analyst at IDC.

"The price band and screen size trends indicate that consumers were opting for more affordable phones due to tighter budgets, while vendors supplied affordable models with higher specs to cope with challenging sales conditions during the pandemic."

Looking at 2020 as a whole, IDC forecasts smartphone shipments to Egypt to increase 2.9% year-on-year. The group believes that consumer demand will continue to be resilient in the second half of 2020 despite certain inhibitors at play in the market including new taxes on mobile phones, exchange-rate fluctuations and a general decline in the economy due to COVID-19.

IDC said that global vendors are still focused on the country, while marketing spend is expected to continue, which will likely help the market overcome these barriers.

— The Staff, Connecting Africa

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