Chinese smartphone brands market share increase in Africa despite inflation

A staff waits for customers at a mobile phone shop in downtown Nairobi, capital of Kenya, on May 9, 2017. /Xinhua

NAIROBI, Kenya - The demand for entry-level smartphones has begun to rise in Kenya as young consumers go for devices that offer large storage, high-speed internet, fast processor, and quality camera output at a lower cost.

The burgeoning youthful customers-currently constituting the highest population of first-time mobile users are driving this demand.

In an increasingly interconnected world, there is heavy usage of internet-enabled phones by youths beyond just communication.

Tech-savvy young consumers are now than ever using smartphones to shop, play games, organize events and meetings as well as a virtual classroom.

Realme, a fast-growing smartphone maker from China, is among the smartphone brands that are gaining popularity in the African continent said.

According to the research firm Canalysis, the realm was the only brand that recorded a positive growth in the number of shipments in the first quarter of 2023 of the top five smartphone vendors in the continent.

From this report, realme’s shipment share grew by 11 percent to 3 percent while the rest recorded a drop of between 13- 42 percent over the Period.

Realme Kenya PR & Marketing Manager, Mildred Agoya said rising demand for entry-level smartphones in Kenya, Morocco, and Algeria were the biggest drivers of the growth.

“We continue to record increased popularity of smartphones under these different segments with the entry-level segment, especially from a youthful customer base, in these three countries. We are very proud of such a performance that reflects our resolve to meet the dynamic needs of our customers even in difficult times, with innovative solutions and budget-friendly devices,” said Agoya.

Among Realme’s popular models in the entry-level segment are the C-series- rich in high-end features including a Full HD screen, faster processing speed, bigger storage, and high quality compared to other brands in this segment. With the newly launched Realme C55 being named “champion” of the segment among its competitors.

In 2022, realm announced it will over the next three years create an additional 15 markets with 1 million smartphone shipments under its ‘Market Cultivation’ strategy.

However, it will cut down on new smartphone launches to increase shipment numbers of the most popular models.

“This has begun in earnest and we are beginning to see the impact on the market as seen in our first quarter numbers,” said Agoya.

This new development comes at a time when Kenya’s telecommunication industry is about to gain a significant boost as the government plans to roll out the first consignment of one million domestically manufactured smartphones. They will roll out the gadgets in two months even as plans on digital transformation and e-commerce gather pace.

Kenya has been at the forefront of East Africa’s digital economy for some time now. Numerous investment opportunities have come up within East Africa’s biggest economy catching the eye of many investors.

According to statistics, Kenya’s mobile network coverage stands at 89.1 percent, a wave that is driving more businesses into the digital space. The government has taken note and taken the initiative to ensure that each citizen acquires the means to plug into the fast-growing ecosystem.


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