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The top mobile phone brands in Zimbabwe – reloaded

Smartphone design Google, Android 11 feature

In 2015, Techzim did a pool survey of the top mobile phone brands in Zimbabwe. Some of the data was also obtained from Statcounter. The data was collected by non-Zimbabweans hence some felt it was not comprehensive or a true representation of the local market.

Welcome to the Top Mobile Phone brands in Zimbabwe – the reloaded edition. This time around we got in touch with mobile app developers to get a peek at their data. All the data used was with regards to Zimbabwean apps, made in Zimbabwe and used by Zimbabweans.

Important notes

This data is greatly biased. It only considered people who have at some point been connected to the internet; not via social media bundles, but internet data bundles. This can be via TelOne WiFi, Econet, NetOne, Telecel or ZOL packages for example. Getting a breakdown of the ISP distribution was sadly not possible with the gathered metrics.

What this means for a developer is these are the people you want especially if your app is going to be serving Ads as a primary revenue model.

The second point to note is that the data used was collected with the help of Google Firebase Analytics. I guess we can all trust Google right?

The last point to recognise is that this data was collected for one year, starting October 1st 2019 to the date of publishing this article.

The pool

This time around, we got data for 614,625 smartphones of 5,331 models. That’s a lot of smartphones. For comparison, this is almost just enough smartphones to give one to every human being in Bulawayo, the second-largest city in Zimbabwe.

There is also unreported 80,192 devices. These are phones that did not share their phone make or model as they interacted with Google servers for some reason. It is hard to guess which brands these devices are, but they also include iPhones (more on Apple phones later).

From our pool, a total of 345,259 people reported their gender as well. Below is a table showing a break-down of the gender stats collected.

Next up, we have a demographic breakdown of the total people with reported gender. This is by percentage. This data would be very useful for someone looking to create products for people that fall under a certain age-group.

There is really no surprise here. The youth are the ones with the highest frequencies and the numbers thin out as age increases. What this could mean to a developer is that you should avoid making apps for people above 45 years of age. If you are confident your product will bring in a lot of money from the older people, then by all means, go ahead and target them.

The iPhone no one cares about – or can’t get!

We all know iPhones are very rare in Africa as a whole. The iPhone accounts for just 10% of all smartphones used in Zimbabwe. Someone tell the iPhone users to take a couple of chill pills. This does not mean they are part of an exclusive smartphone club with big bucks. You are not the Ginimbis of phone owners. There are several Android phones that are more expensive than iPhones on our list.

This greatly discounts the iPhone as a good target for app makers. There are just too few of them to be able to recoup the costs of dev’ing for the iPhone. And that will be that for Apple during our breakdown.

Hie my name is Samsung and Zimbabwe is my domain

Looking at the stats, one would swear Samsung phones are given out under some Gideon Gono Baccossi scheme. There is just so many Samsung phones. Given that Samsung phones are mostly mid-tier to top tier in terms of price, how can Zimbos continue to cry saying they are broke?

The top two most used phones are the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Grand A2 Core. The phones cost $136 and $74 respectively.

The top ten

In the top ten most used phones (totaling 83,106), 44,778 are Samsung phones. That’s 53,88%! Coming in second at half the count of Samsung phones (22,983 or 27,65%) are Itels. The Itel brand is quickly taking up market space in Zimbabwe due to its more affordable flagships.

Huawei has, over the last couple of years been losing ground to said Itel. The Vodafone branded VFD 1100 is the third most common device. No surprise there, the device costs $100.

Below is a table with the top ten most common smartphones

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite is so cheap because it is a phone made in 2014. Its now very old but the tablet is sturdy and well built. With good care, the tablets are easily the Nokia 3310 of tablets.

Well, thats it from us and you can get the raw data from the download link below.

Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

10 thoughts on “The top mobile phone brands in Zimbabwe – reloaded

  1. Itel is a bacossi fone, every street corner phone shop in Zimbabwe has a itel, and they have a phone for everyone.Wonder how much the itel Smart TV will cost when they arrive in Zim, I guess everyone will own a smart TV very soon

  2. Can yu take a look at the prices for the phones again the grand prime + for 136?? Or yu switched with the price for the A2 Core

    1. Yes the prices are okay. A point to note that I left out I guess was that these prices are an average of prices you get from South Africa and Asia.
      Most people are buying their phones from South Africa though as it is still way cheaper. If they can’t go to South Africa themselves, they get a Malaitsha (a runner to do it for them).
      The runner charges an average of $10 for the phone. So still quite cheap.

  3. Itel done well…a phone around 95usd reasonable quality would surely work in this market….I have to say I have been opened to world of data analytics…thank you techzim

  4. You cannot dismiss developing apps for the 45+ age group. Humans grow older carrying their behaviours with them, those in the 35-44 group (in a decade) will be the 45-54 group and you have incorrectly presumed that their app usage will decline to match the current less tech savvy cohort.

    It would be nice to include the apps or app categories that contributed to this data. If they were games, for example, then it is to be expected that 45+ has less numbers. Provisional licence practice apps tend to be used by the younger people versus 45+ year olds. So, the context of collection of the data is quite relevant here.

    1. The Tecnos fall into two possible categories.
      1. They do not report their make and model and thus could be part of the 80,192 unknown devices.
      2. The people who use Tecnos en-masse do not afford data, thus their phones do not ever register in large enough numbers to Google’s servers.

      With such a large pool of data, its quite difficult to make a scalable prediction based on smaller surveys. Because focus group surveys indicate Tecno is not a very popular brand among people of all walks of life, from civil servants, to students and self employed hustlers.

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