Nigerian smartphone market declines by 13.6% in Q1


The Nigerian smartphone market has just witnessed an unprecedented drop in sales. The latest research by the International Data Corporation (IDC) found that smartphone shipments declined 13.6 percent on a year on year basis

This is a record decline as the Novel Coronavirus continues to negatively affect business operations as well as market demands.

The drop also affected the entire feature phone and smartphone markets as well. The June report of the IDC showed that Nigeria’s feature market suffered a 12.5% quarter on quarter decline in shipments in Q1 2020.

Transsion Holdings’ TECNO mobile, saw its market share shedding a record of 3%. Data compiled by IDC showed that TECNO controlled 48% to 49% in the last quarter of last year.

However, the IDC said the pandemic isn’t entirely to blame for the decline in shipments. Nigeria declared lockdown in April. While the GDP per capita in Nigeria is at $2400, Nigeria’s middle class isn’t growing as expected, only peaking at 30 million people in a country of over 180 million. With more people living below the middle-class range and within the poverty range, feature phones which are far cheaper continue to dominate the market in Nigeria.

According to IDC, feature phones account for 56 percent share of all devices shipped in Q1 2020. However, most people prefer feature phones as secondary phones since they offer longer battery life, radio, and network access in rural areas where 4G infrastructure is underdeveloped.

The major players in the country’s feature phone space in Q1 2020 were Tecno with 46.6 percent unit share, itel with 30.8 percent, Nokia with 13.0 percent, and Bontel with 6.9 percent.

Low pricing has been the Transsion’s primary strategy and why it has dominated the market in recent years. The company’s brands such as Tecno, itel, and Infinix offer more models in the entry-level and mid-range price bands, with devices going for less than $200.

“Competition is a major driver of this downward trend in average selling prices, a trend that has catalyzed smartphone adoption in the market. Despite seeing its share drop by 3%, Transsion’s Tecno brand continued to lead the way in Q1 2020, with its Spark 4 and Camon 12 models proving popular. Samsung also remained competitive in Q1 2020 as its A-series models offer superior specifications and are affordable for most consumers,” says George Mbuthia, a research analyst with IDC.