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Realme’s entry-level smartphones helped vendors and consumers defy tough economic times in 2022

Fairly priced smartphones helped some mobile vendors to keep up their shipment numbers in a tough year characterized by a general slow-down in the economy, according to realme’s Marketing Manager, Mildred Agoya.

The high cost of living and weakening of the Shilling against the dollar and volatility in other foreign exchange rates eroded consumer purchasing power in Kenya making it difficult for many Africans to purchase new phones or upgrade to higher models.

“While all segments across the mobile market registered a decline in shipment numbers in 2022, demand for entry-level smartphones was on a positive trajectory with huge sales helping to balance out lower sales recorded in mid and high-range phones,” said Agoya.

During the year, realme introduced its entry-level smartphone offerings under the C-series stable, making it the top-selling realme series in the Eastern Africa Market at a time most consumers went for handsets that offer high-end features at very affordable rates to beat tough economic times.

The C-series phones come with among other premium features, a 6.5-inch screen, Some had a 50MP camera, backed by a powerful 5,000mAh battery making them very popular among first-time smartphone owners.

In the first quarter of 2022, realme broke its annual five million sales volume mark for the first time globally, driven by the sale of entry-level phones and this trend has sustained over the year.

Research firm, Canalys in its November 2022 estimates ranked realme in the fourth position with a three per cent market share, after Transsion (49%), Samsung (33%) and Xiaomi (6%). Here are the most recent numbers from Canalys.

“Interestingly, the Q3 estimates show only realme moved up the ranks and had the largest annual growth (71%) in shipments. this is an affirmation that we continue moving with trends and offering our diverse customers what they need and that which caters for their needs even during difficult economic times,” said Agoya.

IDC Data shows smartphone shipments in Africa slumped by 19.8 per cent to 17.8 million units, representing a very low quarterly smartphone volume for the continent.

The same data however shows low-end price bands (less than $200) continued to dominate Africa’s smartphone market during the period under review, accounting for an 83.6 per cent share of shipments. The major increase was seen within the $100 to $200 priced smartphone range. These trends are promising to be even better this year.

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