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Africa bucks global smartphone fall

Global smartphone shipments are expected to decline 6.5% in 2022, but will rebound next year, while the African market will recover this year

Worldwide shipments of smartphones will decline 6.5% to 1.27-billion units in 2022, according to the latest International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker forecast.

IDC says the decline is due to record-breaking inflation, geopolitical tensions, and other macroeconomic challenges that have significantly dampened consumer demand. As a result, the latest forecast figures represent a reduction of three percentage points from previous projections. However, IDC expects the setback to be short term and the market to rebound in 2023 with 5.2% growth year over year and, in the long term, a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.4%.

“The supply constraints pulling down on the market since last year have eased and the industry has shifted to a demand-constrained market,” says Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s Worldwide Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. “High inventory in channels and low demand with no signs of immediate recovery has OEMs panicking and cutting their orders drastically for 2022. The events of the last twelve months have shaved 150 million units off the market for 2022 from our forecast in the second quarter of 2021. 

“Despite the unit decline, average selling prices (ASPs) have grown 10% year over year in Q2 and are forecast to grow 6.3% for the full year. The premium segment ($800+) has proved resilient to the economic turmoil and has grown four percentage points in share to 16% of the total smartphone market and will continue to grow. This includes foldable devices, which is the fastest growing segment today and expected to increase 70% year over year in 2022 to reach 13.5 million units shipped.”

The global drop was mirrored across the African continent in the second quarter, but a different picture emerges for the second half of the year..

“Smartphone shipments across Africa declined quarter on quarter (QoQ) in Q2 2022, continuing a trend that has been ongoing since Q2 2021. The latest quarterly data shows that smartphone shipments to Africa were down 7.9% Quarter-on-Quarter in Q2 2022, with a negative economic outlook, increasing inflation, and component shortages impacting markets across the region. 

“Shipments of feature phones, however, were up 10.6% Quarter-on-Quarter, with their cheaper prices offering a viable alternative for cash-strapped consumers. Looking ahead, IDC expects smartphone shipments into Africa to grow 16.9% QoQ in Q3 2022 and a further 9.5% in Q4 2022. “The overall smartphone market will perform better in the second half of 2022.”

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