Smartphone shipments in Africa witnessed a decline in Q1 2023, the worst shipment level since the first quarter of 2016. However, Infinix, Tecno, and itel, brands under Transsion Holdings, continue to lead the African smartphone market, accounting for nearly half of all the smartphones shipped from the beginning of 2023 to March.
According to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor Service, economic challenges such as high inflation rates, local currency depreciation, and weak consumer sentiment contributed to the decline in the region. As a result, smartphone Orignal Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) faced hurdles in gaining traction, making them prioritise inventory correction and cost-cutting measures.
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Despite a slight fall in Transsion’s market share, which has declined year-on-year (YoY) in the smartphone market, its brands are still holding on with a 48% market share.
However, reports from research firm Canalys show another Chinese brand, Realme, to be the only smartphone in the top 5 to be getting positive market growth, capturing 3% of the market share.
Realme attributes its growth majorly in Kenya, Algeria, and Morocco, which have seen a great deal of demand for its smartphones. Realme’s C series smartphones have been one of the brand’s major tools for aggressive market expansion in Africa and Asia.
“Poor consumer demand is likely to remain the main theme for the rest of the year, as consumers postpone upgrades while holding onto their current handsets a little bit longer,” Counterpoint Senior Analyst Yang Wand said. “We, however, expect that the inventory situation will improve gradually by the second half of the year, which will be followed by more ambitious product portfolio revamps and promotional activities by OEMs and distributors. This will coincide with better economic conditions as global interest rates and energy prices stabilize, providing much-needed breathing room for consumers in emerging markets.”
In the Southeast Asian markets, Infinix gained 41% YoY growth in Q1 2023, thanks to good performance in Indonesia and the Philippines.