The sale of tablet computers in South Africa has tanked, but smartphone sales continue to “boom”, despite the weak economy, new data from GfK shows.
Media tablet sales shrank by 40% in the first half of 2017, compared to the same period a year earlier, while smartphones continue to do well, according to the GfK data.
“GfK South Africa’s data shows that mobile phone sales decreased by 23% for January to June 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. Smartphone unit sales increased by 17% in the same timeframe,” the company said.
“Smartphones accounted for 64% of mobile devices sold in the first half of 2017, while feature phones comprised the balance. By comparison, the split was 58% smartphones and 42% feature phones in the 2016 calendar year.”
Notebooks experienced flat growth for the first half of 2017, with around 295 000 units sold through retail during the period. This follows a decline of more than 20%, from 360 000 units sold through in January to June 2015 to about 295 000 units in January to June 2016. Tablet computer retail sales, meanwhile, have dropped from 862 000 units in the first half of 2016 to around 540 000 for January to June 2017.
“Growth in South Africa’s consumer computing devices market has flattened in recent years, partly because of economic conditions, partly because the weak rand has pushed prices up, and partly because of high penetration of these devices into the segments of the market that can afford them,” said Nicolet Pienaar, business group manager for IT and telecoms at GfK South Africa, in a statement. “The smartphone market, however, remains buoyant as consumers migrate from feature phones.”
R40 000 laptops
Some smartphone and PC makers continue to focus on laybys and store credit to make notebooks, tablets and smartphones more affordable to first-time buyers, Pienaar said. “Some vendors are also seeking to increase the value of the units they sell — such as notebook manufacturers who have opened new markets such as the premium R40 000-plus gaming notebook.”
GfK said growth in South Africa’s mobile phone market is predominantly driven by the introduction of very low-cost smartphones. This is fuelling the transition from traditional mobile phones to smartphones.
Pienaar said tablets are a “secondary support device”, used to consume media rather than to create content. “As a result, this category is feeling the pressure of the tight economy more than mobile computers and smartphones, which many consumers regard as essentials.” — © 2017 NewsCentral Media