Kenya’s smartphone market decline in the fourth quarter of 2022, marking the second consecutive quarter where the same happened. This is according to the latest numbers from the International Data Corporation (IDC) which show that smartphone shipments went down 13.5% year on year in Q4.
The research firm’s Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker shows that in the period under review, the market share for smartphones entering the local mobile phone market rose to almost three quarters at 72%, nearly edging out feature phones which, overall, continue to dominate the local mobile phone market, as per the latest numbers from the country’s telecommunications and communications industry regulator for the same period.
IDC the Kenyan smartphone market’s tumbling fortunes to supply shortages and inflation.
“In addition, the dollar averaged 121.09 to the Kenya shilling in Q4 2022, leading to increased import costs and higher street prices. Consumer spending on smartphones declined as prices for basic commodities increased, constraining budgets for technology products. Finally, smartphone distributors held back on their investments and reduced their inventories as prices kept fluctuating in an attempt to avoid losses.”
In the midst of a slowing market, Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones appear to have resonated with most Kenyans allowing the Korean company to net nearly a third of the local smartphone market with a 31.7% market share.
IDC credits the growth in popularity of Samsung smartphones in Kenya with the uptake of credit-based devices through programs such as Pay-As-You-Go renewable energy firm M-Kopa’s “pay-per-day” smartphone plans.
Safaricom runs a similar program dubbed Lipa Mdogo Mdogo which is widely credited with helping improve the transition from feature phone to smartphone and from 3G phones to 4G phones in the country.
Transsion brands Tecno and Infinix came second and third with an 18.8% and a 9.2% market share respectively.
To deal with the contracting market, IDC notes, phone vendors switched from targeting buyers with the popular sub-Kshs 12,000 entry-level smartphones to the Kshs 12,000 to Kshs 25,000 mid-range smartphone price segment that offered better margins.
Shipments of smartphones in the sub-Kshs 12,000 price segment, according to IDC, dropped from 41.2% in Q4 2021 to 28.6% last year.
On the other hand, shipments in the Kshs 12,000 to Kshs 25,000 price segment, which features lower mid-range smartphones, rose from 41% in Q4 2021 to an impressive 55% in Q4 2022.
Premium smartphones, regarded as those costing over Kshs 55,000, are also said to have witnessed a positive growth in shipment numbers in the final quarter of 2022 on the back of various high-profile releases and aggressive marketing.
“Looking at 2023 as a whole, IDC expects Kenya’s smartphone market to remain relatively flat, with shipments growing by just 1.4%,” the IDC says.
“Inflation is expected to hurt the smartphone market this year and the recovery will begin only in the final quarter of 2023 as economic uncertainty diminishes, vendors bring price volatility under control, and supply shortages come to an end,” says Ramazan Yavuz, a senior research manager at IDC. “With all the challenges in the market, the rapid transition to smartphones will continue, enabled by mobile financing schemes such as M-Kopa and Easy-Pay that help consumers to purchase new devices even as prices continue to rise.”
I would give up Samsung for any other brand. Their products are legit