Africa’s smartphone market has remained resilient in the face of macroeconomic challenges, high inflation, and forex issues, with shipments increasing 12,8% year on year in Q3 2023 to reach 20,1-million units.

That’s according to the latest Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker from International Data Corporation (IDC), which also reveals that feature phone shipments decreased 5,1% over the same period to total 23,1-million units.

“Egypt witnessed the continent’s most substantial year-on-year growth in smartphone shipments in Q3 2023, albeit from a low base as the market was negatively impacted in Q3 2022 by the introduction of new import regulations and restrictions, which have since been eased,” says Arnold Ponela, a senior research analyst at IDC.

“South Africa’s smartphone market also saw healthy growth, driven by the recovery of local brands and the increased presence of Chinese brands.

“Despite the country experiencing rapid currency devaluation, Nigeria’s smartphone market registered growth in Q3 2023, with Infinix and Xiaomi boosting their shipments of entry-level devices.”

Transsion brands (Tecno, Itel, Infinix) retained a dominant position in terms of smartphone market share in Q3 2023, driven by their compelling portfolio of entry-level handsets suited for the African market. Samsung followed in second place, with Xiaomi third.

Shipments of smartphones priced under $100 increased year on year in Q3 2023, while shipments of $100-$200 devices decreased, indicating a growing consumer preference for budget-friendly options.

Looking ahead, IDC expects Africa’s smartphone market to expand 2,6% year on year in 2024, with a sustained upward trajectory through 2027.

“Africa remains a market with high feature phone share, and the transition to smartphones will be a key driver of the market’s growth in the mid to long term,” says Ramazan Yavuz, a research manager at IDC. “Persistent inflationary pressures and escalating macroeconomic uncertainties will result in short-term ups and downs in the market but will not impede the long-term shift from feature phones to smartphones.”