Kenya has 67% smartphone penetration, way above the continent’s figures

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A recent report by Human IPO has said that Kenya has 67% smartphone penetration. The report is based on figures released by Kenya’s leading mobile operator Safaricom.

According to Safaricom, Kenya has 67% smartphone penetration attributed to “a growing middle class that has increased the uptake of these types of phones”. Safaricom also says 23% of their smartphone sales in 2013 were Samsung devices, a figure in the region of 400,000 devices.

Safaricom had 82% subscriber market share in Kenya as of 2010.

Just to put the Kenyan smartphone penetration figures into context, the East African country’s smartphone penetration is 40% higher than the African continent’s average figure which is between 12 and 18 percent as of January 2014.

The real smartphone penetration in Africa is disputed with figures from the Industrial Data Corporation putting the figure at 18% penetration. Coming to a definitive figure is also difficult because a great deal of smartphones in Africa are grey imports that do not come through official channels. Grey market devices are said to account for 30% of handsets in Africa and it’s difficult to ascertain whether these are accounted for in the smartphone penetration figures.

Whatever the real figure may be, analysts generally agree that smartphone penetration in Africa will double within the next three or four years. This is hard to discount if you consider the ever increasing presence of mobile device manufacturers on the continent and the falling prices on entry level to mid-range devices.

For example, Huawei, the third largest smartphone marker on the planet has a presence in every region in Africa. The Chinese company has been aggressive in introducing entry level android smartphones below $100 and their Huawei Ascend Y220 going for $70 has been particularly popular in Zimbabwe.

Samsung already has a dominant presence on the continent and the Korean giant is targeting to maintain a 50% share of the 22 million smartphones expected to be sold in Africa in 2014.



  1. MhukaHuru

    and then…?

  2. Drogo

    That’s wonderful for an African country exploit/utilize technology but battery life remains one of the most frustrating things about modern smartphones.

  3. VallieHRobinson (@VallieHRobinson)

    /////===/my roomate’s mom makes $70 an hour on the internet . She has been out of a job for 7 months but last month her income was $14051 just working on the internet for a few hours. read

  4. Anonymous

    Are you sure this is correct?

    “Smartphones made up 67 per cent of devices sold by leading Kenyan operator Safaricom in 2013” – Human IPO

    This means that 67% of phones sold BY SAFARICOM in 2013 are smartphones, not that smartphone penetration in ALL OF KENYA is 67%.

  5. Dale

    I believe the main statement of the article is NOT correct.

    Article mentions 67% smartphone penetration (which is btw one of the highest smartphone penetration in the world globally) and at the same time the article mentions that Kenya is 40% over the African continent that is 12-18%. Sorry, but that math does not make any sense.

  6. Anonymous

    Misleading heading …. Sales don’t represent penetration, a lot to take into account – the middle class owning more than one handset per person, replacement of old / damaged handsets, handsets being used for tracking services in vehicles, instituitions purchasing handsets in bulk for data collection purposes (Know one with 2,400 smart phones)

  7. Moseti Charles- Applied Statistics Student

    as we marvel at smartphones penetration in our third world countries, it’s urgent we address the addiction to smartphones and how as individual countries can take advantage of the addiction and bridge the may gaps that need to be filled in terms of technological advancement and unemployment. This is areal opportunity for growth and personal development

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