Smartphone usage drives Kenya’s Internet penetration

Jumia MD Sam Chappatte during the launch of 4th White Paper


High adoption of smartphone pushed Kenya’s internet penetration ahead of its peers in Africa, according to the latest report by e-commerce company Jumia.

With a penetration of 83 per cent, a bigger fraction of the population accessed the internet compared to those in other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria, with a penetration of 81 per cent, was the closest to Kenya.

“Kenya is the global leader in share of internet traffic coming from Mobile (overtaking Nigeria in 2017), at 83 per cent,” read part of the report, dubbed 4th White Paper Report.

The report showed that access to the internet by Kenyans was mostly through mobile phones with uptake of smartphones in the country reported to have increased in 2017 compared to 2016.

“Jumia has over the last five years played a pivotal role in the growth of smartphones in the country by availing phones at the most affordable prices to Kenyans,” said Jumia Managing Director Sam Chappatte.

Mr Chappatte added that in 2017, Jumia sold 250,000 smartphones, an increase from 200,000 that were sold in 2016. Smart phone sales on the Jumia platform increased 97 percent while only three per cent was feature phones. This shows continued growth and demand for smartphones.

Smartphones accounted for 97 per cent of all phones sold by Jumia (three per cent feature phones), with 68 per cent of sales taking place in Nairobi. The report noted that the high mobile penetration in Kenya was driven by the arrival of aggressive entrants, such as Hong Kong based Transsion Holdings whose brands include Tecno, Itel and Infinix.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, said the report, Transsion continued to hold the top spot as the biggest smartphone and feature phone vendor in Kenya.