Smartphone penetration in Nigeria today is arguably the highest in the world. In 2013, over 10 million smart devices worth $1 billion (N167bn) were sold in Nigeria, according to analysts.
Smartphone shipments to the Middle East and Africa (MEA) saw unprecedented y/y growth of 83 percent in 2014, the majority of the growth in the smartphone category was witnessed in countries with larger populations but previously low penetration rates like Nigeria and Kenya. Kenya experienced the second fastest growth of 112 percent in smartphone shipments.
According to IDC, smartphone’s accounted for 41.9 percent of all mobile handset shipments to the region in 2014, up from 27 percent in 2013, with the overall handset market expanding 19.6 percent in volume y/y.
Feature phones have been hit hard by the increased availability of more affordable smartphones, with shipments down 4.5 percent y/y in 2014. Smartphone priced under $100 captured 20 percent share of the MEA smartphone market in 2014, up from just 5 percent in 2013.
“Many new vendors have been eager to get into the region’s burgeoning smartphone space, with a number of them launching phones in this growing price band,” says Nabila Popal, IDC’s research manager for handsets and display solutions in the Middle East and Africa.
“This strategy of targeting the mid and low end of the market has contributed significantly to the success of vendors like Huawei and Lenovo,” Popal says.
The Nigerian market, Africa’s leading smartphone market, represents a strategic market that has attracted several smartphone manufacturers around the world. The potential for more growth is unbelievably huge and manufacturers are fighting for the heart of the Nigerian smartphone market. The battle for the bottom of the pyramid is real and very exciting here, and we are seeing some awesome low to mid-range smartphone in the market, according to analysts.
The growing popularity of dual-SIM Smartphone’s is also helping shape the market, with shipments of such devices increasing 34 percent y/y in Q4 2014.
“Vendors such as Samsung and HTC launched variants of their flagship S5 and HTC One M8 models with dual-SIM capabilities,” says Isaac T. Ngatia, a senior research analyst at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.
“Demand for such devices stems from the fact that a growing band of consumers want to enjoy cheap cross-network calls and offers from multiple Telco’s, and therefore retain more than one SIM card for their personal use.”
The overall handset market’s vendor dynamics also changed by the end of 2014. Although Samsung maintained its number-one position in MEA, its smartphone share fell from 51.5 percent in 2013 to 43.8 percent for 2014. Huawei and Apple followed in second and third place with shares of 8.9 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively.
The MEA market witnessed a massive 58 percent increase in the shipment of iOS devices in Q4 2014 compared to Q3 2014. Android shipments increased by only 3.8 percent over the same period, while Blackberry OS continued its declining trend after a temporary increase in Q3 2014.