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IDC Reports 3.4% Decline in Smartphone Shipments in Q1

Inflation and naira depreciation crashed the Nigerian smartphone market in the first quarter of 2023, according to the International Data Corporation.

The firm’s newly released ‘Worldwide quarterly mobile phone tracker’ revealed that rising inflation and local currency depreciations against the dollar negatively impacted demand for smartphones across the continent.

This was as the African smartphone market declined by 3.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter to 17 million units in the first quarter of 2023.

According to IDC report, it was the lowest level of smartphone shipments to the region since the start of COVID-19 pandemic in Q1, 2020.

Asides from smartphones, shipments of feature phones across Africa also declined in Q1, 2023. It stated that feature phones remained relatively affordable and were the preferred secondary device option for many consumers.

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A senior research analyst at IDC, George Mbuthia, said, “Africa’s smartphone declined throughout 2022 amid weak consumer demand, and this has been exacerbated by rising inflation and higher device prices.

“The average selling price for smartphones grew QoQ due to high import costs and the fact that many vendors’ flagship devices are now equipped with 5G and have therefore moved up in price to the premium segment.”

The firm noted that Africa’s top three smartphone markets recorded a mixed performance in Q1, 2023, with South Africa and Nigeria both recording shipments decline QoQ, while the Egyptian market registered growth.

Transsion (Tecno, Itel, and Infinix) continued to dominate the continent’s smartphone market, accounting for the largest share for smartphone shipments in Q1, 2023.

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A Senior Research Manager at IDC, Ramazan Yavuz, added, “Looking ahead, a slight recovery in demand is expected starting from the second half of 2023, with uncertainty over a global recession lessening.

“Greater currency stability against the dollar will promote more stable pricing, and this is also expected to ease import costs and thus lower ASPs in the market, helping to spur slight growth throughout the remainder of the year.”

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