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Ghana’s smartphone market declines as rampant inflation stifles demand

According to the latest figures from global technology and consulting services firm International Data Corporation (IDC), Ghana’s overall mobile phone market declined 10.9% year on year (YoY) in Q3 2022. The firm’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker shows that smartphone shipments — which made up 48.9% of the market in Q3 2022 — were down 3.1% YoY, while shipments of feature phones — which accounted for 51.1% share — declined 17.3% over the same period.

The primary cause of the smartphone market’s decline was the high USD to GHS exchange rate, which averaged 9.1 across the quarter, impacting imports heavily and driving higher average selling prices (ASPs). Rising inflation in the country is restricting the purchasing power of consumers and hampering demand for smartphones, particularly since constrained consumer budgets are increasingly being diverted towards essential goods.

“With inflation driving smartphone prices higher, vendors have been forced to shift their focus to devices priced below $200 in order to keep units moving,” says George Mbuthia, a senior research analyst with IDC. “As a result, this price band accounted for 79.6% of overall smartphone shipments into Ghana during Q3 2022. Financing schemes such as MTN’s ‘Pick & Pay Later’ (in collaboration with M-Kopa) and Vodafone’s ‘Pay Small Small’ (PaySS) are gaining traction in the market to combat the decline in purchasing power. Such schemes are likely to play a significant role in helping consumers to continue buying new devices.”

Samsung led Ghana’s smartphone market in Q3 2022, with 44.6% share of total shipments. Tecno (28.1%) placed second, while Itel (9.7%) ranked third. The major players in the feature phone market were Itel (56.4%), Tecno (21.5%), and Nokia (17.7%).

The smartphone market’s lowest price bands ($0<$200) saw an increase in shipments during the quarter as major vendors shifted their focus to entry-level devices. Meanwhile, the worsening economic outlook saw the premium price band ($450+) decline as prices increased with muted demand for these high-end devices. "Shipments of 5G smartphones increased 9.2% quarter on quarter in Q3 2022, with 5G devices accounting for 18.3% of all smartphones shipped to the country during the quarter," says Ramazan Yavuz, a senior research manager with IDC. "While the transition from feature phones to smartphones and from 4G to 5G will help the market improve over the longer term, mobile financing schemes will have a more immediate effect in helping consumers to cope with rising inflation and higher ASPs." CT Bureau

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