‘Unprecedented growth in MEA smartphone market’

Unprecidented growth in MEA smartphone market IDC say the availability of cheaper models has driven the growth of the African smartphone market. (Image source: Internews Europe/Flickr)The Middle East and Africa (MEA) smartphone market saw unprecedented year-on-year (YoY) growth in 2014

According to data released by International Data Corporation (IDC), shipments to the region increased by 83 per cent in Q4 2014, when compared to the previous year.

Smartphones accounted for 41.9 per cent of all mobile handsets shipped to the region in 2014, up from 27 per cent in the previous year, while the overall handset market expanded by 19.6 per cent over the same period.

The market intelligence provider said that a key factor in driving this growth was the increased availability of cheaper models, with smartphones priced at under US$100 increasing their market share from five per cent to 20 per cent YoY.

IDC research manager for handsets in MEA region Nabila Popal said, “Many new vendors have been eager to get into the region’s burgeoning smartphone space, with a number of them launching phones in this growing price band.”

Conversely, models in the US$250-US$500 bracket saw their market share fall from 23 per cent to 18 per cent between Q3 and Q4 2014, as smartphones became less of a commodity for wealthy elites, and more widely available.

“This strategy of targeting the mid and low end of the market has contributed significantly to the success of vendors like Huawei and Lenovo,” added Popal.

Two countries which saw the most dramatic increases were Nigeria and Kenya, where the combination of large populations and previously low penetration rates led to YoY rises in smartphone shipments of 135 per cent and 112 per cent respectively.

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