Half a Billion Smartphones to be Sold in Africa Before End of 2020

africa smartphone growthSmartphone sales in Africa are set to explode over the next five years, with this year expected to see smartphones outselling feature phones on the continent for the first time, and around 500m units expected to be shipped in Africa by the end of 2020.

Feature phone shipments in Africa have been steadily dropping since 2010, as more and more consumers began to adopt smartphones, which have been growing at an even faster rate. Projections by Statista suggest that by 2020, over 200m units a year will be sold in Africa, with 150m of those smartphones.

While data rates and mobile subscriptions remain expensive in Africa, the growth of smartphones will help to drive these prices down in competitive markets as consumers demand better deals, and the expanded internet access, eCommerce potential and social media use will transform the lives of a huge number of consumers.

The expanded smartphone use should also drive mobile marketing investment in the continent, which has seen relatively advanced adoption of products like mobile payment solutions. Mobile banking and payment products can aid both consumers and small and medium-sized businesses in Africa, especially in rural areas that are underserved by traditional banking services.

Many mobile service companies and developers are already targeting African nations as the next high-growth markets, with platforms like WeChat investing in local startups and services like Viber extending social networks to include Africa and the Middle East.

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