Smartphones lost market share to feature phones in Africa last year

16 February 2018

Telecoms

Feature phones are making a comeback in Africa. But in truth, they never really went away.

The market share of feature phones rose to 61% in 2017 from 55.4% in 2016, while market share for smartphones fell to 39% from 44.6%, according to data provided by IDC. The recovery of feature phone growth in Africa was largely dominated by Transsion, the Shenzhen, China-based handset maker of the Itel and Tecno brands which started off its operations in some of Africa’s largest markets.

The growth in feature phones could be partly explained by an expansion of mobile phone markets in large countries like Ethiopia and DR Congo where mobile phone penetration is still low compared with countries like South Africa and Nigeria where more users are upgrading to smartphones. Itel, the leading Transsion brand, saw a rise in market share of its feature phones to 36% in 2017 from 30% in 2016; Tecno experienced a growth to 21% from 17% in 2016.

Read the full article on Quartz here.