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Publication date: 06 Jun 2024

Africa's Smartphone Market Surpasses Feature Phones for the First Time in Q1 2024


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Johannesburg – Africa's smartphone market showed remarkable resilience in the face of macroeconomic challenges and forex issues in Q1 2024, with shipments increasing 17.9% year on year (YoY) to reach 20.2 million units. That's according to the latest insights from International Data Corporation (IDC), with the firm's newly released Quarterly Global Mobile Phone Tracker showing that feature phone shipments declined 15.9% over the same period to total 18.8 million units. This marks the first quarter where smartphone shipments have surpassed feature phone shipments in Africa, highlighting a clear transition toward smartphones across the region.

"South Africa experienced healthy YoY growth in Q1 2024, driven by the rising popularity and availability of competitively priced Chinese brands with advanced features," says Arnold Ponela, a senior research analyst at IDC. "Meanwhile, Nigeria saw robust growth fueled by the success of Transsion brands and Xiaomi, particularly in the entry-level segment, which significantly boosted shipments. Kenya further strengthened its position as the third-largest smartphone market in Africa in Q1 2024, with innovative financing models like Mkopa driving sales growth."

In Q1 2024, Transsion brands (Tecno, Itel, Infinix) maintained their leading position in terms of smartphone market share, driven by their compelling entry-level device portfolio tailored to the African market. However, Samsung and Xiaomi gained market share on the previous quarter, driven by mid-range ($200<$400) models. Overall, shipments of smartphones in this price range increased in Q1 2024, while shipments of <$100 devices declined, indicating a growing consumer preference for feature-rich models.

Looking at 2024 as a whole, IDC expects Africa's smartphone market to see shipments increase 5.7% YoY, with a sustained upward trajectory for the next five years. "Africa remains a market with a high share of feature phones, although they are expected to gradually decline as the transition to smartphones gains momentum," says Akash Balachandran, a research manager at IDC. "This shift, coupled with rising demand, will be the key driver of overall growth in the smartphone market. Persistent inflationary pressures and escalating macroeconomic uncertainties may cause short-term fluctuations but will not impede the long-term transition."

For more information, please contact Sheila Manek at  or on +971 4 446 3154.

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,300 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology, IT benchmarking and sourcing, and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC's analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly owned subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world's leading tech media, data, and marketing services company. To learn more about IDC, please visit Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC and LinkedIn. Subscribe to the IDC Blog for industry news and insights.

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For the Middle East, Türkiye, and Africa region, IDC retains a coordinated network of offices in Riyadh, Nairobi, Lagos, Johannesburg, Cairo, and Istanbul, with a regional center in Dubai. Our coverage couples local insights with international perspectives to provide a comprehensive understanding of markets in these dynamic regions. Our market intelligence services are unparalleled in depth, consistency, scope, and accuracy. IDC MEA currently fields over 130 analysts, consultants, and conference associates across the region. To learn more about IDC MEA, please visit You can follow IDC MEA on Twitter at @IDCMEA.