In a year characterized by a general economic slowdown, many smartphone manufacturers found it difficult to maintain their shipment numbers. However, realme, a smartphone maker, was able to buck this trend by offering reasonably priced smartphones.
The high cost of living, the weakening of the Shilling against the dollar, and volatility in other foreign exchange rates negatively impacted consumer purchasing power in Kenya, making it challenging for many Africans to purchase new phones or upgrade to higher models. Nevertheless, realme saw a positive trajectory in demand for entry-level smartphones, with solid sales helping to balance out lower sales in mid and high-range phones.
Realme introduced its C-series stable entry-level smartphones in response to consumers looking for handsets that offer high-end features at affordable rates. This series quickly became the top-selling realme series in the Eastern Africa Market, thanks to its range of premium features such as a 6.5-inch screen and a 50MP camera backed by a powerful 5,000mAh battery.
Realme achieved a significant milestone in the first quarter of 2022, surpassing its annual five million sales volume for the first time globally. It was driven by the strong demand for their entry-level phone offerings. The sales trend has remained consistent throughout the year, and research firm Canalys has acknowledged this by ranking realme as the fourth-largest player in the market, with a 3% market share, following behind Transsion, Samsung, and Xiaomi.
IDC Data shows that smartphone shipments in Africa slumped by 19.8% to 17.8 million units, representing a low quarterly smartphone volume for the continent. However, the same data shows that low-end price bands (less than $200) continued to dominate Africa’s smartphone market, accounting for 83.6% of shipments. The significant increase was seen within the $100 to $200 smartphone range, which bodes well for 2023.
Realme maintained its shipment numbers in a challenging economic climate by offering reasonably priced smartphones with high-end features. The company’s C-series smartphones, particularly, were popular among first-time smartphone owners and helped drive their global sales. The trend of consumers looking for affordable smartphones with high-end features is expected to continue in the coming year.