Massive drop in South African smartphone prices

The price of entry-level smartphones in South Africa has decreased by more than 70% since 2015, according to data presented by Google.

Between 2015 and 2018, the price of entry-level smartphones dropped by over 50% — from around R1,552 to R754.

Mariam Abdullahi, the director for Android platform partnerships in Africa, presented this data at Google for South Africa in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Abdullahi stated that the launch of Android Go in South Africa has reduced the price of entry-level smartphones in South Africa by around 18%.

Android Go is a streamlined version of Google’s mobile operating system, designed specifically for smartphones with low-end specifications.

It has the interface and core features of standard Android, but it is optimised to take up less space for devices with small storage capacities.

Google also said that Android Go offers better performance, data savings, and overhauled applications for affordable smartphones.

The first Android Go devices started appearing on the market in South Africa in 2018.

Android Go South Africa Smart Kicka 4 and Mobicel Astro

Continued price cuts

Between 2018 and today, the price of entry-level smartphones has decreased even further. Abdullahi highlighted the Vodacom Smart Kicka 4 and Mobicel Astro, which retail for R399.

Android Go has a 90% adoption rate in South Africa, Abdullahi said. This means that of all entry-level smartphones sold, 90% of them run Android Go.

In addition, 33% of all devices sold in South Africa are Mobicel devices.

The graph below combines the data Abdullahi showed from 2015 to 2018, and the current R399 price point for entry-level smartphones in South Africa.

It should be noted that the 2015-2018 data was given in US dollars. We converted it using an exchange rate of R14.78 per US dollar.

Entry-level smartphone prices in South Africa - Google - 2015-2019

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Massive drop in South African smartphone prices