Smartphone survey results: Zimbabwe’s most used & preferred phones

Posted by Read 31 Comments

Following last week’s intense verbal fencing we are pleased to announce that the jury is back and we have the results. Now before I start to gloat and tell you I told you so here is a summary of the results:

Results Summary

  • There were 87 respondents mostly coming from the 25-35 age group and the majority (93%) of them were from Zimbabwe.
  • Most of the respondents named Samsung (35%) as the phone they used most followed by Nokia (26%).
  • Samsung was named the favorite phone by 42%, HTC 17%, Apple phones 15%, and Nokia 12% and only 4% wanted a Blackberry.
  • Android was the most popular Mobile Operating System (53%) amongst respondents followed by Nokia’s Symbian 17%, Apple’s iOS 11.5% and Windows Phone 7%.
  • Over 79% of the people cited price as being either everything or very important when purchasing their phones as compared to 6% who do not care about price at all.
  • 51% care about the availability of accessories and servicing technicians whilst 49% do not care that much.
  • More than 87% of the respondents have smartphones.
  • Meanwhile close to 44% of the people use their phones as the primary means to access the internet.

And the insights (Gloating)

  • Nobody wants a GTel for some reason- I suspect people still associate it with cheap Asian imitations. Nothing can be further from the truth. GTel smartphones can compete with the rest of them up there in terms of performance and specifications.
  • Android is king but Symbian is still a force to be reckoned with.
  • Samsung is the most coveted brand of phones but Nokia is still very much in the picture.
  • Price is critical to people when making a purchase and for a lot of people it is the only thing between them and their favorite phone.
  • People do not care as much about the accessories and availability of service technicians when making a purchase. I would imagine warranties mean nothing to them as well.
  • Smartphones are the new deal in town and if you are a reseller, you would do well to stock your shop with them especially the cheap ones.
  • The number of people who use their phones is significant (close to half of the respondents) increasing webmasters would best be advised to make sure that their sites are optimized for mobile viewing considering this is the global trend as well.
  • People love Whatsapp and corporates should, in the same way they have Facebook pages, consider joining Whatsapp to communicate with their clients and other stakeholders. I bet you there will be a time when people will use Whatsapp more than they use Facebook.
  • People still use Opera the most on their phones but Chrome is coming for that top spot.

The full results can be read or downloaded in Excel format here


A disclaimer: A survey is a sample, the national trend may be different or similar to the results obtained. Possible bias also exists since the respondents are readers of this blog and thus other possible respondents were excluded by virtue of not being aware of the survey.


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  1. tendyfish says:

    these results just gave me a brilliant idea that i will forward to my superiors immediately!

    1. Why don’t you just try implement the idea yrself,just curious!

      1. ic0n1c says:

        Erm, because he is junior… he needs his superiors for approval.

      2. tinma@n says:

        Good challenge! By him/herself, outside the company, for his benefit… that’s if idea is feasible and applicable to pursue outside the chains of employment (aka servitude)

  2. Nice it is a useful guide,would be great if we could try a bigger sample but I suspect similar trend would be seen.

  3. ic0n1c says:

    So Gtel ain’t doing much to appease their name in the market. Last I heard they were sponsoring some beauty pegant chakuti chakuti… Maybe they should try to do competitions or sell in supermarkets and clothing outlets like edgars… and obviously move their merchandise from the $1 for 2 shops coz if they don’t people will always associate them with low quality.

    1. tinma@n says:

      I dont think Edgars would want the association with GTel. The bad association is tied to the name and not the location of purchase. (cant take the bush out of it)

      Speaking for myself and a few other people I know, I would rather own a Nokia feature phone than a GTel(in fact I have a love for them. Charging once every 1 to 2 weeks). Mainly due to perceptions that have been built (some true and others false) regarding the GTel phone/brand. The mere idea of pulling out a GTel phone brings images of people laughing.

      This is not to say they do not have good phones. Just perceptions and associations that have killed their brand.

    2. There was a tweet from the broadband forum that stated Gtel sells 25k phones a month, they are a force to reckon with.

      1. Munoz says:

        Who was the source a tweet gotta come frm somone. I bet you it came from GTel themselves

  4. Interesting research results, thanks for posting. I do wonder if the results would be different if we were able to get smartphones at minimal cost on contracts like in many other countries in the rest of the world. Those results are certainly backed up by both our analytics and our app downloads, and I agree with Godwin, that a bigger sample would reveal a similar trend.

  5. ZIZH✪ says:

    “People still use Opera the most on their phones but Chrome is coming for that top spot.” – Problem with Chrome is its Expensive

    1. M3YA says:

      How is that? Are you referring to the data compression employed by Opera??

      1. Mukuwasha says:

        Memory consumption or the fact that Chrome is used on really smartphones.

  6. Apple has better apps than android because many people choose iPhone for the selection and quality of its apps. While apps of mediocre quality can be found on the App Store, most apps are well developed, full of features and easy to use and for me after years of obsessing over the sheer quantity of apps available for these two platforms (iOS and Android), the numbers seem to be similar now! You have rustled up results from a bunch of readers, focusing on information that’s relatively fresh but ios iPhone is better than android Samsung smartphones! Anywhere the survey was on Cheap and popular smart phones and not the best mobile OS

    1. Chicken_to_Change says:

      I disagree Loyd. obviously from your state you are an Apple fan but take a more detailed comparison between IOS and Android. The fastest selling smartphones in the market globally is Samsung. The OS on the fastest selling mobile brand is Android. Quality or apps can always be redefined based on user response of course. I do support you on one thing though..Apple has quality stuff. i like to Iphone, but put a galaxy SII or SIII..certainly i’ll trash the Iphoneand don’t forget, we are pushing towards an age where apps are open source and information is free…Androids is the way brethren.

      1. SRC says:

        The only reason Samsung sell more phones is that they mass-produce dozens of models whilst Apple basically release a single phone with variation just in colour and memory space. By the way, it’s not about QUANTITY, it’s about QUALITY !!

  7. Tapiwa ✔ says:

    Dear author, what is Mobile OS share like among mobile browsers visiting (from server logs or Google Analytics)? It would be interesting to compare these figures to the survey

    1. Garikai Dzoma says:

      Thanks for the tip. I will see what I can do.

  8. vaGudoguru says:

    Robert Gonye a GTel exec claimed at the Broadband Forum that his company sells 25K phones a month. Someones using those GTel phones!

  9. Time says:

    Gtel should just move onto the next market outside of Zim. Yes we bought them in 2008 when nothing else was there but now us Zimbo’s have taste and class again and we prefer brands that didnt try and sell us the short end of the stick in our hardest times.

  10. Cde_Hero says:

    “In Zimbabwe and Nigeria, mobile accounts for over half of all web traffic at 58.1 per cent and 57.9 per cent respectively, compared to a 10 per cent global average”

  11. teekay says:

    i own a G-Tel Andy Android and very happy with the performance.Yes they had a bad start but now they are a force to reckon with.the price is also very reasonable

    1. Mukuwasha says:

      How much did you pay for it and what are the specs like?

      1. Brian Machimbira says: The site lists the phones they have and the specs on each. Dont knock it till you try it…

  12. Carlo says:

    Android is king, but android on a Sony phne, i tell you will love the xperia ance. Am makng good mone sellin Sony phones on Zimbabweans love them and the website sells fast

  13. Greg says:

    Just 87 respondents? I assume they’re all from one city. It’d be risky to make any business decisions on the basis of this survey.

    1. Winnie says:

      You could get more people in the streets by promising Lollipops. Got one word for you folks Bias.

  14. Greens Zambasa Junior says:

    I think the playing field has somewhat been opened up especially with Android coming on board. Personally I am an Android fan and I think that the fact that it i is open source has allowed for many more players to take advantage of this powerful software which has significantly helped make it popular. This has allowed cheaper brands to capitalise on quality software. In my view, few specs really matter except the operating system, processor speed and internal memory and maybe a good camera. This can be found, if you know where to look, on reasonably priced phones.

    I agree with the assertion that GTel phones are just as good when it comes to quality. They borrowed a brnd with bad rep, yes, but I feel they have made strides and continue to move in the right direction. Blackberry, though a big brand outside our borders, has suffered in Zimbabwe mainly because of BBM service not being available in Zimbabwe. It’s just too inconvenient to own one because simple tasks that can be done easily on other phones like installing certain software need ‘specialist’ help.

  15. SAmson says:

    May you kindly do another survey for 2016

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