Findings from Counterpoint Research indicate that the smartphone market in Africa experienced a 6 percent growth in the first quarter of 2019, while the feature phone declined 6 percent same periods.

The finding also disclosed that over 70 percent of the smartphone sold in that period were in the $150USD price segment, adding that there is an increasing transition of users from feature phones to smartphones.

A situation, the report noted, is fueling growth of other sectors and increasing popularity of the mobile money ecosystem in the continent, especially in countries like Nigeria and Kenya, where smartphones remain the primary medium to access internet services.

There is an increasing transition of users from feature phones to smartphones in the region. Availability of affordable devices, the growing ecosystem of refurbished devices, and increasing internet penetration are fuelling the switch to smartphones, especially in the African Region,” said Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research.

According to the report, Transsion Group dominates the handset market in the continent, commanding a 19 percent market share in the smartphone segment and a 71 percent market share in the feature phone segment. Affordability and localized offerings underline the dominance of the Transsion’s brands. Features like longer battery life and optimized cameras for local needs make them a popular option. The brands also have a deep distribution network in Africa.

Other findings from the report, disclosed that a large section of the population in Africa still uses 2G feature phones. Commenting on the feature phone segment, Varun Mishra, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research said,” Although declining, feature phone remained relevant in the MEA and contributed to 34 percent of the total handsets sold during the quarter.

In terms of shipments, Middle East and Africa has surpassed India to become the largest feature phone market globally in 2019. Factors like the dearth of infrastructure, affordability, literacy, and ease of use continue to make feature phones a viable option in the region.


ITPulse is a wholly information technology communication (ICT) news website, with a special focus on the African continent. The website provides up-to-date biz-tech news, analysis and comprehensive and thorough insight into the continent's ICT terrain

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