It is not difficult to guess the brands of the best selling phones in the world. According to research from market research firm Omdia, Apple still maintains the top spot since toppling Samsung a few years ago. The Korean firm holds second spot with Chinese late comer Xiaomi coming third. Apple iPhone 11 was the best selling smartphone in 2021.
The situation is different in Africa though, where affordability matters a lot. Samsung had held the lead for many years but in 2020, it lost that spot to a Transsion brands. TECNO is now the best selling smartphone in Africa. A Counterpoint Technology Market Research report showed that the African smartphone market was more resilient in 2020, slightly feeling the effects of the COVID 19 in the first half of the year before bouncing back in the second half of the year. In fact Africa was the only resilient market in 2020 compared to other regions in the world.
Below were the best selling smartphones in Africa in 2020:
TECNO accounted for 18 percent of all smartphone shipments and sales in Africa. This was a 1 percent increase from 2019. TECNO offers affordable smartphones that can just about do anything the leading smartphones in the world can do. The brand also spent a lot in marketing during the same period.
Samsung was once the leading smartphone maker in the world but competition across the globe has seen its market share shrink; in 2020 its African market finally suffered a blow from TECNO. TECNO outcompetes Samsung on price even though the latter still enjoys a better brand image. To counter the onslaught though, Samsung has to reconsider its pricing in this ever growing smartphone market. The Korean producer now enjoys 15 percent of the market share compared to 18 percent in the previous year.
TECNO should probably be more worried about ITEL, whose approach of offering the most affordable smartphones at grassroots level is bearing fruit. The company grew its market share to 12 percent in 2020 compared to 11 percent in 2019.
Huawei was the fastest growing brand in the world before it hit a snag some few years back on the backdrop of spying allegations hit it hard. Africa was one of its most important markets before the controversy. Its Y series helped it maintain fourth spot but analysts foresee a continued slide. In 2020, it had 8 percent of the market down from the 10 percent of 2019.
Infinix is another Transsion brand following in the footsteps of its more affordable sister TECNO. It currently has a market share of 7 percent, up one percent from 2019. However, there have been notable prices decreases for this brand’s models, reflecting on the reality that Africa is market where price actually matters. It’s market share is expected to continue expanding.
The Xiaomi brand whose selling price is a little higher is one of the two premier smartphone brands in the top ten behind Samsung. The brand has aggressively marketed and penetrated emerging smartphone markets in the continent with positive results in the major ones such as Kenya, Egypt, Morocco and Nigeria. Its shipments grew by an amazing 126 percent YoY. Xiaomi market share was 4 percent, up from 2 percent the previous year.
OPPO is another midlevel to top end smartphone brand that is aggressively marketing in the continent and it is making notable inroads. Its shipments grew by 57 percent YoY and North Africa was its most important region. It will be trying to break into Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa with its mid-price segment smartphones. It currently was 4 percent market share up from 2 percent.
The other smartphones that have penetrated the African market albeit without much success are Apple with 1 percent market share; HMD Nokia with 1 percent even though its feature phone was the most successful during its days; and newcomer RealMe with 1 percent. Other brands account for 29 percent of the market share, down from 31 percent in 2019.
The best selling smartphones in Africa price range is up to USD 99, accounting for 49 percent of all sales in 2020 down from 53 percent the previous year. Sales of smartphone prices ranging from USD 100 – 199 had a slight improvement with 38 percent sales up from 36 percent in 2019.
The higher priced segment also grew by about 2 percent.