GfK data shows that South African smartphone sales climbed 28% year-on-year to 3 million units in Q3 2017, and smartphone revenues are up by 27%.
Basic mobile phone sales increased by 6% to 1.6 million units for the same period. Feature phones still command a 35% share of the overall South African market, said GfK.
Looking at year-to-date figures at the end of Q3, smartphone sales rose 21.1% and revenues were up 8.1%, with the overall smartphone market growing 5.2% in value and 10.5% in units – compared to the year before.
Basic phones dipped 13.7% in unit sales and 1.9% in revenue over the same period.
The increase in smartphone sales may be attributed to mobile operators driving adoption to boost data usage, as well as increased competition in the entry-level smartphone market.
“Fierce competition from Chinese brands is reshaping the entry-level smartphone market in South Africa, with the average selling price for smartphones falling – despite the weakness of the rand,” said GfK.
“Around 25 brands are today contesting the entry-level smartphone market, compared to just six in 2013.”
GfK said smartphone penetration remains relatively low, however, and there is scope for growth.
“However, top brands are continuing to move out of the entry-level segment as the Chinese brands strengthen their grip on the market.”