Best-selling smartphones in South Africa

Android devices dominate smartphone sales in South Africa, and the best-selling devices vary between post-paid and pre-paid customers, according to Cell C and MTN.

MTN told MyBroadband that Android devices make up 94% of the smartphones on its network, and Cell C provided a similar statistic — that 90% of the smartphones it sells are Android devices.

MTN said that iOS and Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) devices each make up 3% of the smartphones on its network.

According to Cell C, its top-selling smartphone models include the Samsung Galaxy A series, Huawei P40 Lite, Huawei P Smart 2021, Huawei Nova Y60, and Huawei Nova 8i.

However, it specified that these were the most popular for its post-paid customers. Cell C did not provide specifics regarding pre-paid devices but said that Hurricane, Nokia, and Mobicel were the top-selling brands for these customers.

Cell C’s chief operating officer, Andre Ittmann, explained that the South African smartphone market is constantly evolving.

“The smartphone landscape is evolving daily in the South African market. With previously popular brands like Sony and LG no longer available, this gives opportunity to other popular global brands to make a mark in the SA market,” he said.

“Whilst it is still early days, new entrants like Oppo and Xiaomi have a great opportunity to capture market share and make inroads into the South African smartphone market.”

He added that Cell C had noticed a shift in the landscape, where customers were moving from flagship smartphones to more-affordable mid-range devices.

Ittmann said that, in terms of flagship devices, the Samsung Galaxy S21 range was the most popular and that this was in line with previous years’ sales.

However, he noted that S21 sales were slightly lower than the S20 line, but this was likely due to the shift to mid-range devices — like the Galaxy A series.

According to MTN, the most popular smartphone brands on its network are:

  • Samsung
  • Apple
  • Nokia
  • Huawei
  • Hisense
  • Oppo
  • Vivo
  • Mobicel

It did not provide specifics regarding the most popular models sold on its network.

MyBroadband also reached out to Vodacom, but it had not answered our questions by the time of publication.

Statcounter Global Stats reveals a similar phenomenon to what Cell C observed. It showed that Samsung takes the top spot for mobile vendor market shares in South Africa with 48.12%.

The figure increased from 47.6% in January 2022 to over three times Apple’s market share (15.96%) and more than double that of Huawei (23.88%).

Samsung and Huawei are likely more popular than Apple in South Africa because they offer more affordable devices.

Apple’s iPhone SE — Apple’s mid-ranger — is priced at R9,799, while you can grab Samsung’s Galaxy A53 5G for R1,300 less. Huawei also offers a range of mid-range smartphones.

It is also important to note that Apple only offers one mid-range device, while Samsung’s Galaxy A series consists of several handsets, with prices starting from R1,799 for the A03 Core.

The chart below summarises the mobile vendor market share situation in South Africa.

Now read: Smartphone sales plummet — Samsung reclaims top spot from Apple

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Best-selling smartphones in South Africa