TECNO retains top spot as smartphone sales in Nigeria rise by 81% in 2021

Annual smartphone sales in Nigeria grew by 81% YoY in 2021, according to Counterpoint Research’s Global Monthly Handset Sales Tracker. Nigeria’s smartphone market entered a slowdown in early 2020 amid pandemic restrictions.

However, the market saw rising demand in 2021 driven by improving economic conditions, pent-up demand, and entry of new Chinese OEMs. Besides, increasing digital adoption due to the pandemic, expansion of social media, entertainment, and mobile money, and drop in data costs also drove customer demand.

Talking about the network penetration in Nigeria, Research Associate Anam Padha said: Sales share of LTE smartphones in Nigeria grew to 72% in 2021, while that of 3G smartphones dropped. The expansion of 4G networks by operators will keep data costs low even as better connection quality and improved internet experience fuel further growth. 5G smartphone sales penetration grew from 0.3% in 2020 to 3% in 2021.”

Discussing the ASP trend, Research Associate Ravyansh Yadav said: “The average selling price (ASP) of smartphones sold in Nigeria grew 9% in 2021 driven by demand for devices capable of handling heavy internet use. Nearly 90% of smartphone sales in 2021 were in the less than $200 price band, where Transsion brands Infinix, itel and TECNO captured 63% share. Transsion brands are expected to maintain their price competitiveness for the foreseeable future.”

The Counterpoint Research analysis is based on wholesale ASPs.

Commenting on the macroeconomic conditions in Nigeria, Senior Analyst Yang Wang said: “Overall, the economic situation in Nigeria has been better than initially feared. This is primarily due to COVID-19 not causing as much damage to the healthcare system. The Nigerian Naira dropped 8% against the US dollar in 2021, as the currency was more resilient than initially expected. Furthermore, the economy was boosted by rising energy and agricultural commodity prices, which increased government revenues and household income. Looking ahead, rising oil prices will continue to boost the country’s state sectors, but there are worries that high inflationary pressure, especially in food prices, may damage consumer sentiment towards big-ticket items like smartphones.”

Source: Counterpoint’s Global Monthly Handset Model Sales (Sell-through) Tracker, Feb 2022

Market Summary

  • TECNO, Samsung and itel captured over half of the smartphone sales in Nigeria in 2021.
  • TECNO recorded its highest-ever annual smartphone sales in 2021 to reach 5 million units. The brand also managed to maintain its top position for the fifth consecutive year, driven by the performance of its Camon series, multiple sales events, and an increase in marketing activities.
  • Samsung overtook itel to grab the second position in 2021, more than doubling its annual smartphone sales in Nigeria. Swap-and-trade as an upgrade option for customers, price cuts during sales events, multiple new launches in the popular A series and celebrity endorsements drove its growth.
  • itel captured a 19% sales share driven by a strong low-tier portfolio, partnership with retail outlet Spectrum in the third quarter of 2021, multiple launches and aggressive promotional activities.
  • Infinix showed rapid growth at 163% YoY in 2021 driven by popular mass-market series Hot and Note.
  • Xiaomi was the fastest-growing brand with 173% YoY growth in 2021. The Redmi 8 and Note 8 series were its best performers. Xiaomi put greater focus on brand visibility with its marketing strategies in 2021, especially during the launch of the Redmi 10 series.

With inflation likely to remain high, smartphone ASP is expected to increase further in 2022 in Nigeria. The demand for low-tier smartphones is expected to rise further due to accelerating digitalization. However, growth may be capped by supply chain issues, which have improved in early 2022 but not completely resolved. Transsion brands are positioned well to capitalize on this opportunity but may face increasing competition from new Chinese OEMs like Xiaomi, OPPO and vivo. The Nigerian smartphone market is likely to remain flat in 2022, despite the government lifting the ban on new SIM registrations.


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