Kenya’s smartphone shipments down 13.5pc in Q4, says report

Tuesday, March 14th, 2023 04:00 | By
Mobile firms deactivated over 287,000 SIM cards in three months to June
Kenya’s smartphone shipments down 13.5pc in Q4, says report

Kenya’s smartphone market declined for the second consecutive quarter in the fourth quarter of 2022, with shipments down 13.5 per cent year on year, said the International Data Corporation (IDC), a global technology and consulting services firm, in a report released on Friday.

The firm attributed the decline mainly to supply shortages and inflation, adding that the US dollar averaged 121.09 to the Kenyan shilling in quarter four Q4, leading to increased import costs and higher street prices.

“While the general market sentiment was negative in Q4 2022 and reflective of the supply chain squeeze that occurred throughout 2022, those vendors that offered their products via asset-financing platforms were the least impacted, demonstrating a growing appetite for mobile financing schemes,” said George Mbuthia, a senior research analyst at the IDC, in the report released in Nairobi.

Innovative service

Mbuthia said asset-financing platforms promise the next big innovative service and fast penetration, appealing to the vast but untapped segments of the consumer base in Africa.

“Very soon, the industry will witness these platforms grow, taking the smartphone market along with it,” he added.

The report revealed that smartphones now account for 72 per cent share of overall mobile phone shipments to the country. It said consumer spending on smartphones declined as prices for basic commodities increased, constraining budgets for technology products.

According to the IDC, smartphone distributors held back on their investments and reduced their inventories in an attempt to avoid losses as prices kept fluctuating.

The IDC said Samsung led the way in Kenya’s smartphone market during the period with a 31.7 per cent unit share. The report showed Tecno took second place with an 18.8 per cent share, while third-placed Infinix accounted for 9.2 per cent of shipments.

The consulting firm also said Samsung leveraged its distribution through the M-Kopa asset-financing platform, which provides underbanked customers in Africa with the opportunity to purchase products like smartphones. It expects Kenya’s smartphone market to remain relatively flat, with shipments growing by just 1.4 per cent.

Price volatility

Ramazan Yavuz, a senior research manager at the IDC, said inflation is expected to hurt the smartphone market this year, and the recovery will begin only in the final quarter of 2023 as economic uncertainty diminishes, vendors bring price volatility under control, and supply shortages come to an end.

“With all the challenges in the market, the rapid transition to smartphones will continue, enabled by mobile financing schemes such as M-Kopa and Easy-Pay that help consumers to purchase new devices even as prices continue to rise,” he said.

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