Africa’s Smartphone Market Sees Resurgence with 24% Growth in Q4 2023

Africa’s smartphone market achieved a growth of 24 percent year-on-year in terms of shipments, reaching a total of 19.2 million units in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Growth of smartphone market in Africa 2023 Canalys reportHIGHLIGHTS

In Q4 2023, Africa’s smartphone market grew 24% to 19.2 million
In 2023, Africa’s smartphone market grew 6% to 68.7 million
In 2024, Africa’s smartphone market may grow in single digits

The surge in Africa’s smartphone market was fueled by a combination of factors including increasing demand for digital services, burgeoning social media engagement, and the proliferation of ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ options acting as catalysts for the market’s expansion, the latest research from Canalys said.

Despite economic challenges faced by key countries such as South Africa grappling with energy crises, Nigeria navigating government reforms in the oil sector, and Egypt facing foreign exchange scarcities, the region’s top three markets experienced robust growth. South Africa, Nigeria, and Egypt saw growth rates of 15 percent, 63 percent, and 63 percent respectively, assisted by the introduction of more affordable smartphone options.

For the entire year, the region witnessed a total shipment of 68.7 million units, marking a 6 percent increase from the previous year, primarily attributed to improved consumer confidence in the latter half of 2023.
Top smartphone vendors in Africa 2023 Canalys reportTranssion (34.5 million), Samsung (17.7 million), Xiaomi (6.1 million), Oppo (2.8 million), and Realme (2 million) are the smartphone leaders in Africa in 2023.

In Q4 2023, Transsion shipped 9.8 million units of smartphones as compared with Samsung with 4.3 million, Xiaomi 1.8 million, Oppo 0.9 million, and Realme 0.7 million.

“The shift from feature phones to affordable smartphones in African markets reflects a strong consumer push for modernization and improved connectivity,” said Canalys Senior Consultant in Dubai, Manish Pravinkumar.

He highlighted the rising vendor-level activities in the entry-level segment and the significant growth of shipments in the ultra-low-end (sub-US$100) segment, experiencing a noteworthy 43 percent growth in Q4 2023.

Key players like Samsung and Xiaomi have capitalized on this trend. Samsung maintained its crucial position in markets like South Africa with its A-series models, while Xiaomi aggressively expanded its product range, catering to consumers’ preferences for better aesthetics and higher specifications.

Canalys has emphasized the importance of higher specs in entry-level devices, especially in RAM and storage, to meet the increased digitalization and social media use among African consumers. He also noted the success stories of brands like OPPO and Huawei, which experienced significant growth in expanding markets across the region.

Looking ahead, Canalys projected a continued surge in smartphone demand across African countries, driven by technological shifts and initiatives aimed at enhancing affordability and reducing internet costs.

However, Canalys cautioned against macro challenges such as government policy changes, rising import costs, and currency fluctuations, which could impact profit margins for channel partners in the forthcoming year.

Despite these challenges, Canalys remains cautiously optimistic for 2024, expecting single-digit growth in the African smartphone market, supported by ongoing initiatives in product marketing and various financing options.