Samsung grows its lead in South Africa market share

Samsung has been the dominant force in South Africa’s smartphone market for an extended period, securing over 50% market share in November 2023, a significant increase from 44.8% in November 2019. The South Korean giant’s success can be attributed to its diverse portfolio of budget-friendly and mid-range smartphones that have resonated well with consumers in the region. Despite minor fluctuations in May 2020 and May 2023, Samsung’s hold on the market has strengthened consistently over the past five years.

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Huawei, which held the second position in the market until around March 2023, faced a sharp decline in its market share from 29.12% in November 2020 to 15.09% in November 2023. This significant drop began when the United States Department of Commerce and Bureau of Industry and Security added Huawei to the “Entities List.” The subsequent restrictions, particularly the inability to offer Google apps on its smartphones, including the Google Play Store, YouTube, Google Maps, and Gmail, contributed to a loss of consumer trust despite Huawei’s efforts to provide workarounds.

Apple, securing the second position from Huawei in mid-2023, has seen steady growth in its South African smartphone market share. Starting at 13.27% in November 2019, Apple’s market share reached 19.13% in May 2023 before experiencing a slight decline to 16.59% in November 2023.

Oppo, an impressive contender in the market, has witnessed a remarkable rise in popularity. Initially part of the “Other” category until November 2021, Oppo’s market share surged from 1.64% in May 2022 to 3.30% in November 2023. This growth trajectory is similar to Xiaomi, with its market share expanding from 0.81% in November 2019 to 3.44% in November 2023.

The “Other” category encompasses brands like Nokia, Vivo, Hisense, and various unknown brands. The table below illustrates the market shares of smartphone vendors in South Africa at six-month intervals from November 2019 to November 2023.