Feature phones made a comeback in Africa as smartphone growth slowed last year
After a decade of strong growth, the expected crossover of smartphones finally overtaking feature phone usage in Africa did not happen last year. In fact, feature phones had a bit of a surge.
Smartphone shipments to the continent grew by only 3.4% year on year—a sharp slump compared to double-digit growth rates recorded in recent years according to data from IDC, a technology research firm.
The slowdown in smartphone shipments was down to economic headwinds in some of the continent’s leading markets. Nigeria, Africa’s largest market, had a “particularly tough year”. Nigeria had its first recession in two decades and the naira devaluation has weakened purchasing power of locals and hurt imports.