Some good news and bad news from the African smartphone market in the last quarter. The bad news was that the market saw a 3.4% decline quarter on quarter (QoQ), bringing total shipments to a meagre 17 million units – the lowest level since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Q1 2020.

A report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) sheds light on the grim reality, attributing this downward spiral to rising inflation and local currency depreciations against the U.S. dollar, which have adversely impacted smartphone demand across the continent.

In contrast, feature phones, which are more affordable, experienced a smaller decline in shipments compared to smartphones as feature phones continue to be a popular secondary device option for many African consumers.

The good news? Although shipments were down, the average selling price (ASP) of smartphones managed to climb higher, all thanks to those fancy 5G features and the hefty import cost which drove up the price ladder into the premium segment.

Also, the region's largest phone brand company, Transsion (makers of Tecno, Itel, and Infinix) accounted for the largest share of smartphone shipments across Africa in Q1 2023, despite experiencing a decline in units. Samsung placed second, while Xiaomi came in third.

A look at Africa's top three smartphone markets showed that South Africa and Nigeria had a bit of a rough time, with shipments taking a dip as they were hit by seasonal blues and weak demand, which prevented vendors from bringing in fresh new units. Meanwhile, in the land of the pyramids, Egypt's market showed growth, slowly bouncing back from a low point.