Chinese firm Transsion Holdings, the maker of the popular Tecno, Infinix and Itel devices, has continued to dominate Africa's overall mobile phone shipments in the third quarter of 2018.
The company led the feature phone space in Q3 2018 with a combined unit share of 58.2 per cent. Nokia came second with 11.7 per cent share.
Transsion, Samsung and Huawei dominated the continent's smartphone space with respective unit shares of 34.9, 21.7, and 10.2 per cent.
However, in value terms, Samsung led the smartphone market with 37.2 per cent share, followed by Transsion (21 per cent) and Huawei (13 per cent).
Defied tax burden
Kenya, a major market for mobile phone shipments to the region, saw quarter on quarter import growth of 7.9 per cent, according to a quarterly report released Tuesday by global technology research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).
This means Kenyans defied significant burden on their disposable income brought on by increases in taxes and fuel prices to realise the growth, attributed in part to the launch of entry-level smartphones.
In contrast, overall mobile shipments to Africa for the quarter totalled 52.6 million units, marking 2.1 per cent decline from the second quarter. In the same period, feature phone shipments and smartphone shipments fell 2.7 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively.
"While feature phones remain steadfastly popular across Africa, particularly in more rural areas, consumers are increasingly being attracted by smartphone offerings from Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, Oppo, and Huawei, which are actively targeting feature-oriented customers at more economical price points," says the IDC report.
South Korean brands Samsung and LG, as well as Finnish brand Nokia and China's Huawei are struggling from the onslaught of the newcomer Chinese brands offering more affordable devices with high-end specifications.
According to a 2018 survey by Consumer Insight, Transsion is the Kenyan market leader in terms of number of mobile phones sold. Its brands Tecno, Itel and Infinix are among the top five devices by sales in the country.
In the survey, the three brands accounted for 54 per cent of phones owned by Kenyans.
In a separate marketplace report, Jumia indicated that the bold entry of firms such as Transsion has caused Kenya to clinch the global lead position in share of Internet traffic through mobile phones overtaking Nigeria, which was at the top in 2017.
In 2016 two of the Chinese brands — Tecno and itel — held a 34 per cent share of the market.