October 01, 2013, 2:32 PM — Samsung is continuing its dominance of Africa's smartphone market with BlackBerry, Sony and Nokia gaining ground, as mobile phone usage on the continent continues to skyrocket.
IDC's quarterly mobile phone tracker found that smartphone shipments to Africa increased by 21.5 percent in the second quarter of 2013, accounting for 18 percent of the overall African mobile phone market's volume. The numbers are expected to double in the next four years."There is a huge gap between the leaders and the rest of the market players for both smartphones and feature phones," said Simon Baker, program manager for mobile handsets at IDC Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMA). "As a continent, Africa requires a very significant commitment in terms of local offices and resources in order to build out a presence and logistical capabilities across so many countries. Samsung, with its broad range of consumer electronic products and unwavering ambition has been able to achieve just that, in the same vein as Nokia did before it." Samsung had 52.1 percent share of the smartphone shipped to Africa in the second quarter. This represents the fourth quarter in a row that the South Korean company has hovered around the 50 percent mark. BlackBerry trails with 17.8 percent. The vendor's position improved by almost 3 percent on the previous quarter as the brand retains a high level of popularity in the Africa region due to its cheaper data packages.LG has tried to gain a foothold in the smartphone market but has not been very successful with consumers, accounting for less than 2 percent of unit shipments in the second quarter.
Sony, on the other hand, has reinvented itself after buying out Ericsson's share in the company. The Japanese vendor's midrange and high-end devices are pushing hard against the offerings of the market leaders, with share of smartphone shipments from 0.3 percent to 3.4 percent year on year in the quarter under review, according to IDC.Nokia, meanwhile, continues to dominate the feature-phone market, despite the difficulties it has encountered in making a comeback in the smartphone arena. The company accounted for 58.5 percent of the feature-phone market in the quarter under review."There is room for nimble regional brands that pick just a few countries on which to focus; they can source Android smartphones at very competitive prices from a host of Chinese manufacturing plants and launch them under their own brands," said Hamza Saleem, a senior research analyst for mobile devices at IDC Middle East and Africa."The most prominent such brand is Techno. It started off with relatively simple phones but is now offering more sophisticated smartphones and is very active in West and East Africa," Saleem added.