Smartphone shipments to Africa and the Middle East grew by an “unprecedented” 83% in 2014, according to new research from International Data Corp (IDC).
The data is included in the IDC’s Q4 2014 Handsets Tracker.
Demand was spurred by cheaper smartphone models and dual-Sim devices.
Smartphones accounted for 41,9% of all mobile handset shipments to the region in 2014, up from 27% in 2013, with the overall handset market expanding by 19,6% in volume year on year. The data suggest that smartphones sales could soon eclipse those of low-cost feature phones.
“Feature phones have been hit hard by the increased availability of more affordable smartphones, with shipments down by 4,5% year on year in 2014,” the IDC says.
“Indeed, smartphones priced under US$100 captured 20% share of the Middle East and Africa smartphone market in 2014, up from just 5% in 2013,” it says.
“Additionally, market share of smartphones in the $100 to $200 price bracket increased eight percentage points in just one quarter, from 25% in the third quarter of 2014 to 33% in the fourth quarter.”
Smartphones priced in the $250 to $500 bracket have seen their share of the overall market fall to 18% in the fourth quarter of 2014.
“The strategy of targeting the mid and low end of the market has contributed significantly to the success of vendors like Huawei and Lenovo,” says IDC regional research manager for handsets and display solutions Nabila Popal.
The research firm says the growing popularity of dual-Sim smartphones is also helping drive the market, with shipments of such devices increasing 34% year on year in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Samsung maintained its number one position in the region, although its smartphone share fell from 51,5% in 2013 to 43,8% for 2014. Huawei and Apple followed in second and third places with shares of 8,9% and 7,8% respectively.
“Many users that had made the switch from Apple to Samsung specifically for the larger screen sizes have now started to switch back,” says Popal. Huawei, meanwhile, has had good growth in the mid-tier to low-end segments with its Honor 3 and Ascend Y series.
As in other markets around the world, the Africa and Middle East market witnessed a huge 58% increase in the shipment of iOS devices in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to the third quarter.
Android shipments increased by only 3,8% over the same period, while BlackBerry OS continued its declining trend after a temporary increase in the third quarter of last year, the IDC says. — © 2015 NewsCentral Media