Smartphone unit sales in South Africa have declined by about 7 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2019. Photo: AP

JOHANNESBURG – Smartphone unit sales in South Africa have declined by about 7 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019, while the value of the smartphone market climbed by nearly 3 percent to around R8.6 billion, as shoppers splashed out on higher-end models with larger screen sizes. 

That is according to newly released point of sale tracking data from Growth from Knowledge (GfK), South Africa’s Weekly Monitor, which indicates that the consumer technical goods market as a whole grew by 1.6 percent compared to the same quarter in 2018. 

The GfK data shows that high-end devices are now driving the growth of the smartphone market, with average sales prices up 11 percent year-on-year for the quarter. 

“The smartphone market showed a marked slowdown in the first quarter of 2019, with fewer than 3 million units sold during this time frame,” said Kali Moahloli, the commercial head for Market Insights at GfK South Africa in a statement yesterday. 

“Though absolute unit sales numbers are down, the migration of users towards large-screen devices with high-end features has driven revenue growth for smartphone manufacturers and retailers. 

“With smartphones emerging as the primary internet access device, higher-end consumers are seeking a better user experience for web-browsing, video and other applications.”  

BUSINESS REPORT