African Smartphone Growth Down In Q4 2017, Nigeria And SA Still Growing

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli

African smartphone growth numbers are down in the fourth and final quarter of 2017, following on from positive growth in the third quarter.

Africa’s smartphone market experienced a quarter-on-quarter decline of 6.4 percent during the period under review in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the International Data Corporation.

The decline in growth is represented by shipments of around 20.3 million units in the quarter, despite positive momentum in two of Africa’s biggest markets, Nigeria and South Africa.

The first two quarters of this year experienced a sharp decline in smartphone sales, which were previously growing consistently. The continent’s smartphone market rebounded from two consecutive quarters of decline to post quarter-on-quarter growth of 4.4 percent between July and September.

After a positive third quarter, analysts were expecting growth in the traditionally stronger fourth quarter, but the overall smartphone decline of 6.4 percent bucks that trend.

African smartphone growth negative

In terms of feature phones, shipments totalled 33.4 million units, which is up 3.1 percent quarter-on-quarter after decreasing in the previous quarter, while the year-on-year feature phone market was up 9.9 percent, according to ITWebAfrica.

Combining smartphones and feature phones into a single growth metric, the overall Africa mobile phone market saw shipments of 53.7 million units in in the fourth quarter, and a slight decline of 0.7 percent quarter-on-quarter and 2.6 percentĀ  year-on-year.

The continent’s two biggest mobile markets experienced very strong growth, with shipments up 19.9 percent quarter-on-quarter in Nigeria, with the South African number recorded at 27 percent, according to Businesstech.

The North African region saw slight growth, but there were declines across other markets, accounting for the overall decline.

Ramazan Yavuz, a research manager at theĀ International Data Corporation, explained the numbers with specific reference to the positive growth in Nigeria and South Africa.

“Major campaigns took place around Black Friday and during the lead up to Christmas, which positively impacted consumer spending in Nigeria and South Africa,” said Yavuz, according to the IDC.

“While Nigeria continues to recover from recession and consumer spending is on the rise, there are also clear signs of improvement in South Africa,” he added.

“The end to the political crisis means that challenging economic conditions will be addressed as a priority by the new government, which will have a positive effect on consumer confidence and spending on mobile phones,” he said.