Smartphone shipments into Nigeria increased 13.7% quarter on quarter (QoQ) in Q3 2020 to almost 3 million units, according to the latest figures from global technology and consulting services firm International Data Corporation (IDC).
The firm's newly published Quarterly Global Mobile Phone Tracker shows that Nigeria's smartphone market remained healthy in the third quarter as vendors shifted their model portfolios to entry-level and mid-range devices.
Transsion's Tecno, Itel, and Infinix brands dominated smartphone shipments in Q3 2020 with a combined 76.4% share. Samsung placed second with 7.0% share and Xiaomi placed third with 5.3%. Chinese brands continue to invest in the country as they attempt to penetrate the market and gain a foothold.
The average street prices of smartphones declined marginally (0.3%) as the dollar exchange rate remained high. The increase in VAT by 2.5 percentage points also had a negative impact on prices. With the relaxation of COVID-19 measures, the majority of consumers returned to the physical retail channel in Q3 2020, leading to a 21.5% QoQ increase in retail sales.
Feature phone shipments rebounded strongly in Q3 2020, with shipments increasing 21.2% QoQ to account for 56.0% of the country's overall mobile phone market. Feature phones remained resilient as they continue to be the preferred secondary phone in an environment of declining consumer purchasing power and rising unemployment. The major players in the feature phones space in Q3 2020 were Tecno with 49.7% share, Itel with 34.8%, and Nokia with 8.2%.
"In light of the economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, vendors continued to ship more affordable devices priced below $200 as they sought to address demand for cheaper models and penetrate consumer segments with lower purchasing power," says George Mbuthia, a research analyst at IDC. "This strategy of offering more devices in the entry-level and mid-range price bands (<$200) ensured a faster market recovery from the weak performance seen in Q2 2020, which was heavily impacted by COVID-19."
IDC expects Nigeria's overall mobile phone market to grow 3.1% QoQ in Q4 2020, with feature phone shipments increasing 1.9% and smartphone shipments growing 4.7%. "Promotions from the end of November through the festive month of December will support the market's growth in Q4 2020," says Ramazan Yavuz, a senior research manager at IDC. "COVID-19 will continue to pose a threat to the overall economy and, in particular, to mobile phone markets. However, smartphone shipments will remain resilient in 2021, with customers moving from feature phones to smartphones and data usage increasing in the medium term."