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Quarterly mobile phone shipments in Africa 2016-2020

The African smartphone market has shown resilience to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, dropping initially during the first quarter of 2020 but remaining steady in the second, with vendors shipping 20.1 million smartphones in both quarters. The third quarter showed signs of recovery with a 2.8 million unit increase. The feature phone market contracted further, however, with vendors shipping 4.87 million fewer feature phones from Q1 to Q2. However, the feature phone market seems to be recovering too, with a 5.5 million unit increase from Q2 to Q3 in 2020.

Smartphones in Africa:

Chinese manufacturer Transsion sells more phones in Africa than any other vendor, with 44.2 percent of the market share in the third quarter of 2020 under their three brands; Tecno, Itel and Infinix. Nearest rival Samsung obtain 19.9 percent in the same quarter. Chinese manufacturers, in general, enjoy a strong presence in the African market, with Transsion, Huawei, OPPO and Xiaomi all making regular appearances in the list of top five producers. This is partially due to the price point at which these manufacturers are able to offer products in Africa, with 51 percent of all smartphones in the continent having a price tag of 100 U.S. dollars or less.

Mobile phones in Africa: opening up financial inclusion

Underbanking is a serious problem in Africa, which has led to exclusion from services such as the transfer of money, non-cash payments, and the management of personal funds beyond the storage of cash. Mobile Money is one solution that is present in Africa, allowing those without a bank account to store, use and transfer funds digitally. 200 million users made 24.46 billion mobile money transactions in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and Northern Africa during 2019, making up 64.15 percent of all transactions made worldwide. Of the 690.1 billion U.S. dollars in mobile money transactions made in 2019, 456.3 billion U.S. dollars of that amount was exchanged in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Mobile phone shipments in Africa from first quarter 2016 to third quarter 2020, by quarter (in million units)*

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Release date

December 2020



Survey time period

2016 to 2020

Supplementary notes

* The source did not publish information for all quarters.

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Statistics on "Mobile money in Africa"

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