As demand for entry-level smartphones rises in Kenya, more young consumers are going for devices that offer large storage, high-speed internet, fast processor and quality camera output at a lower cost.
The youthful customers constitute the highest population of first-time mobile users and are driving this demand.
They use smartphones to shop, play games, and organise events and meetings as well as virtual classrooms.
“As a result, we are seeing a surge in sales from our entry-level segment, a pointer that reflects a growing demand for functional devices that are also affordable,” says realme Kenya Public Relations and Marketing Manager Mildred Agoya.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) in June 2022 showed that feature phone shipments declined 31.6 per cent as smartphones gained 12.7 per cent driven by the launch of new smart gadgets.
Smartphone shipments in Kenya account for 72 per cent of total shipments, driven by entry-level handsets with price bands of between $100-$200 (Sh12,300-24,600) and mid-range of up to $450 (Sh55,350)
A pandemic-induced push for cashless transactions, contactless meetings and migration of many businesses to online platforms including social platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook have also accelerated the shift from feature phones and helped to grow the size of the entry-level smartphone market.
“We began experiencing this shift at the height of the pandemic. It is now growing bigger post-pandemic and showing no signs of stopping fuelled by the high cost of living that has significantly reduced consumer purchasing power,” said Agoya.
A recent GSMA report shows the number of unique mobile subscribers will rise by 4.5 per cent to 613 million as smartphone ownership is projected to grow to 61 per cent by 2025 from the current 49 per cent.
Two months ago, Realme announced a plan to increase its research and development budget by 58 per cent to bolster technology innovation and the quality of smartphones with designs that appeal to young customers.
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The brand, in its strategy plans to increase its research budget and grow shipments to one million for each of its 15 core markets.
Already, Realme in the first quarter of 2022 broke its annual five million sales volume mark for the first time globally, driven by the sale of entry-level phones in Kenya and other markets.
Agoya added that the newest addition to the C series is the Realme C30s.