South Africa smartphone shipments grew by 7% year-on-year (YoY) in 2018, driven by increasing affordability of the smartphones and cheaper 4G mobile data plans by telecom operators, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor Service.
Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research said that affordability has been a key reason for rising smartphone sales in the country.
“Major smartphone brands like Samsung, Mobicel, and Huawei are offering adequate specifications and features in entry-level smartphone models,” he said.
“The efforts of the OEMs have been helped by the push for 4G mobile internet by telecom operators. By providing discounted bundles and tariff plans to urban as well as rural users, 4G services are now broadening their reach throughout the country.”
Counterpoint found that there are more than 40 smartphone brands who sell their products in South Africa, with 30 offering handsets for less than US$100. This price-segment generates the highest sales volumes in the country.
Rise of Mobicel
Local smartphone brands’ shipments grew 33% YoY in 2018 with Mobicel the leading contributor.
Mobicel became the second largest smartphone brand in South Africa during 2018 with its market share climbing to 16%, from 6% in 2017.
Its affordable yet feature-packed smartphones helped Mobicel become the fastest growing brand, outpacing global rivals including Huawei and Hisense, Counterpoint said.
“Even though Mobicel grew its market share substantially it could not overhaul Samsung. While its market share dipped marginally to 32% in 2018, Samsung’s broad portfolio, especially in the entry-level and budget segment, helped it sell almost twice as many smartphones as its nearest competitor.”
Karn Chauhan, research analyst at Counterpoint Research said that Mobicel’s Astro was the top-selling smartphone in South Africa during 2018 and helped the company raise its market share.
“The affordability and the features of the phone made it popular in the South African market. Mobicel Astro uses the Android Go Edition, a trimmed down version of Android for entry-level smartphones,” he said.
“In fact, three out of the top five smartphones sold in South Africa in 2018 use Android Go. Apart from Mobicel Astro, the Nokia 1 and Samsung Galaxy J2 Core are the other two entry-level smartphones in the top five using Android Go.”