Economic Recovery Drives African Smartphone Rebound In Q3 2017

Written by Peter Pedroncelli

African smartphone growth numbers are up in the third quarter of 2017, following on from two negative quarters at the start of the year.

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, according to the International Data Corporation.

The growth is represented by shipments of around 21.7 million units in the quarter, with economic recovery credited with the improvements in Africa’s major markets.

While the year-on-year numbers are still down 5.5 percent versus 2016, the third quarter does point in a positive direction and means that the fourth quarter could represent further growth, according to ITWeb.

African smartphone growth rebounding

The first quarter of this year experienced a sharp decline in smartphone sales, which were previously growing consistently.

This contributed to the first quarter growth negativity, with a staggering 17,6 percent decline in the African smartphone segment for the first three months of the year, with shipments falling from 25,8 million units to 21,2 million, according to TechCentral.

So news of the rebounding growth is positive for smartphone sales and the telecommunications industry in Africa.

The major market that experienced some economic recovery was Nigeria, with 1.7 percent growth, while in South Africa growth remained slow and a decline of 8 percent in overall mobile phone sales was experienced.

Ramazan Yavuz, a research manager at the International Data Corporation, explained the contrasting situations in the two countries in terms of the combination of smartphones and feature phones.

“The Nigerian economy is slowly coming out of recession and we’re seeing signs of steady improvement in consumer demand for mobile phones,” said Yavuz, according to Businesstech.

“However, consumer spending remained slow in South Africa during Q3 2017 as many consumers opted to delay their purchases until Q4, when major campaigns take place around Black Friday and the lead up to Christmas,” he said.

“In addition, an unstable currency and challenging economic environment do not present favorable conditions for a surge in mobile phone shipments in the country,” he added.

Sign up for the Moguldom newsletter — the most compelling business news you need to know about reversing inequality in tech, delivered straight to your inbox.

View Comments