DURBAN – The South African smartphone market enjoyed solid growth in 2018, with unit sales rising 7.2 percent year on year to about 13.5 million and value growing 13.2 percent to just under R35 billion.
That’s according to newly released point of sale tracking data from GfK South Africa’s Weekly Monitor, which also shows that unit sale growth for the important fourth quarter of the year declined 8.7 percent to 3.6 million units compared to the fourth quarter 2017.
GfK’s data for the year reveals that while the high-end smartphone segment – R6 000 and above – accounted for 9.7 percent of smartphone unit sales during 2018, it contributed almost 50 percent in value. Low-end smartphones – R1499 and below – accounted for 61 percent of unit sales in 2018, but contributed just 17 percent to the value of the market.
"South Africa’s smartphone market has fragmented into low, mid and high-end segments, with operators focusing for much of 2018 on driving volume sales in the entry-level and lower-end of the market and on average revenue per user (ARPU) and value at the high-end," said Nicolet Pienaar, Product Manager at GfK South Africa.
"However, the dip in the fourth quarter indicates that operators chose to focus on value over unit sales over the Black Friday and Christmas period. Operators reduced or pulled subsidies on entry-level smartphones in the fourth quarter, which caused unit sales to contract," said Kali Moahloli, Commercial Head for Market Insights at GfK South Africa. “This segment of the market remains price-sensitive rather than feature-driven.”