Earlier this week, CSS Insights reported that global mobile phone shipments are declining but more of the phones being shipped, are smartphones. New research published by the International Data Corporation paints a different picture for the African continent.

According to IDC, only 23.1 million smartphones were shipped in Africa during Q2 2016, a decline of 5.2% year-on-year. Shipments of feature phones, however, are booming: 29.8 million were shipped in the same period, a rise of 31.9%.

Some countries in Africa are in line with global trends: South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria all saw growth in smartphone shipments. Surprisingly, Nigeria has also seen a sharp downturn in the amount of smartphones shipped in Q2, despite it being the largest mobile phone market on the continent. The IDC reports that smartphone shipments fell 6.8% year on year in Nigeria, which could be as a result of economic issues in that country.

South Africans aren’t going in for the high-end handsets of their global brethren, though. The IDC found that smartphones that retail for approximately R1 400 account for two thirds of all Android smartphone sales in SA.

Consumers opting for cheaper, pay-as-you-go handsets is a “rare feature of the operator environment in Africa,” says the IDC.

Staying in Sub-Saharan Africa, 3G phones remain the first choice for many users outside of South Africa with Samsung leading sales in the region.

Overall mobile phone shipments to Africa are expected to grow 7% year on year by the end of 2016. This equates to as many as 200 million mobile phones coming to the continent this year alone. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has set a target of 700 million more mobile data users by the year 2020.

The IDC says that Africa still has a surprising amount of potential for growth smartphones market where in rural areas penetration remains low due to citizens having less disposable income.

[Source – IDC] [Image – CC BY SA 2.0 xdmag]