Smartphone and notebook sales hold up

Retail growth in South Africa’s mobile computer market has flattened out, though the market is performing reasonably well considering the tight economy, according to point of sale data from market research firm, GfK South Africa. However, the media tablet market has shrunk by about 40% in the first half of 2017, while smartphones continue to boom.
GfK South Africa’s data shows that mobile phone sales has decreased by 23% for January to June 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. Smartphone unit sales has increased 17% in the same timeframe. Smartphones accounted for 64% of mobile devices sold in the first half of 2017, while feature phones comprised the balance. By comparison, the split was 58% smartphones and 42% feature phones in the 2016 calendar year.
Notebooks experienced flat growth for the first half of 2017, with around 295,000 units sold through retail during the period. This follows a decline of more than 20%, from 360 000 units sold through in January to June 2015 to about 295,000 units in January to June 2016. Tablet computer retail sales, meanwhile, have dropped from 862 000 units in the first half of 2016 to around 540 000 for January to June 2017.
Nicolet Pienaar, business group manager: IT and telecoms at GfK South Africa, says: “Growth in South Africa’s consumer computing devices market has flattened in recent years, partly because of economic conditions, partly because the weak rand has pushed prices up, and partly because of high penetration of these devices into the segments of the market that can afford them. The smartphone market, however, remains buoyant as consumers migrate from feature phones.
“We are also seeing cellular networks, manufacturers and retailers come up with innovative ways to drive sales volumes. For example, some smartphone and PC makers continue to focus on laybys and store credit to make notebooks, tablets and smartphones more affordable to the first-time buyer. Some vendors are also seeking to…

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