Cheap smartphones hitting Africa hard

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The widespread trend of cheap and dual-SIM smartphones is biting into feature-phones and high-end devices in the Middle East and Africa, the IDC said.

The industry tracker said that shipments of phones to the MEA region saw a year-on-year jump of 83 percent in 2014.

Smartphones accounted for 41.9 percent of all shipments in 2014, up from 27 percent in 2013.
Feature phones saw a drop of 4.5 percent year-on-year, in large part due to cheaper smartphones.
In fact, the IDC noted that sub-$100 smartphones accounted for 20 percent of the MEA smartphone market in 2014 - from just five percent in 2013.

"Meanwhile, smartphones priced in the higher-end $250-$500 bracket have seen their share of the overall market fall from 23 percent in Q3 2013 to 18 percent in Q4 2014," it added.
The IDC also singled out firms such as Lenovo and Huawei as benefiting from the trend.
As for dual-SIM devices, shipments of dual-SIM smartphones increased 34 percent year-on-year, as more consumers take advantage of multiple network offers.
Samsung maintained its position at the top of the throne, but its smartphone share fell from 51.5 percent in 2013 to 43.8 percent last year.
"Huawei and Apple followed in second and third place with shares of 8.9 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively," the IDC said.
The group said that Apple's performance was due to the larger screened iPhone 6 range - it explained that many people who switched to large-screened Samsung devices are switching back to Apple.
Huawei's success was explained by its great budget smartphone offerings, such as the Honor 3 and Ascend Y range.
"The vendor has struck the right balance between quality and price, particularly in some of the region's more emerging markets where it is even killing the local competition," said Nabila Popal, IDC's research manager for handsets and display solutions in the Middle East and Africa.
As for operating system share, the group reported a 58 percent increase in iOS shipments from Q3 2014 to Q4, due to the iPhone 6's release.
Android shipments from Q3 2014 to Q4 grew by a modest 3.8 percent, while BlackBerry has seen a decline.
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