Transsion, the top smartphone seller in Africa, posted the highest annual growth in smartphone shipments in 2023 of the top five phone makers in the world.
The Shenzhen, China company shipped 95 million units of smartphones last year, 30.8% more than it did in 2022, according to technology research firm International Data Corporation. That was above Apple’s 3.7% growth, while Samsung, Xiaomi and OPPO each shipped fewer phones in 2023 than in the previous year.
Transsion’s performance last year, especially between October and December when it shipped 69% more phones than in the same period in 2022, means its share of the global smartphone market has grown from 6% to 8.1%, IDC said. Apple, now the world’s top smartphone maker for the first time after overtaking Samsung last year, has a 20.1% share.
Africa is Transssion’s largest market, accounting for 57% of its sales volume in the second quarter of 2023, according to Counterpoint, a research firm in Hong Kong. Africa was the main reason Transsion broke into the top five of the world’s phone makers for the first time last year, according to IDC. Transsion brands Tecno, Infinix and Itel accounted for the largest share of the 19.6 million smartphones shipped to Africa in the second quarter of 2023.
But while Africa dominates its total sales, Transsion has made inroads in other markets, growing 35% in Latin America, Eastern Europe, India and Southeast Asia in the second quarter of 2023, per Counterpoint.
Though it does its manufacturing in Shenzhen, Transsion remains largely unknown in China where Honor, another Shenzhen-based maker formerly owned by Huawei, is king.
After setting up its first Africa assembly factory in Addis Ababa in 2011, Transsion eclipsed Samsung as the continent’s top smartphone seller in 2017. Its tactics have been described as “a textbook case of superior marketing and understanding consumers’ needs,” such as marketing dual SIM card phones and camera phones better calibrated for darker skin tones.