For the first time, TECNO Mobile pushed Samsung down to the number two spot in Africa in 2020 to become the continent’s top smartphone brand. Statistics and data firm, Counterpoint has published its 2020 report and confirms that Chinese brand, TECNO is now king on the continent [1]. 

IDC (International Data Corporation)’s report also shows that TRANSSION Holdings’ brands TECNO Mobile, itel, and Infinix led the African smartphone market in Q4 2020 with a combined market share of 48.2%, and places TECNO as first in Africa for Q1 to Q3 for the year.

TECNO phones have snapped at Samsung’s heels for years, looking to take the coveted top spot. With an 18% market share in 2020, compared to Samsung’s 15%, TECNO has finally achieved the goal it has aggressively pursued for years.

crown - TECNO now leads the top 10 smartphone brands in Africa
All hail the new King: TECNO led the top 10 smartphone brands in Africa in 2020

The top 10 smartphone brands in Africa in 2020

Here is how the smartphone market in Africa stands as at the end of 2020.

  1. TECNO – 18%
  2. Samsung – 15%
  3. itel – 12%
  4. Huawei – 8%
  5. Infinix – 7%
  6. Xiaomi – 4%
  7. OPPO – 4%
  8. Apple – 1%
  9. Nokia – 1%
  10. Realme -1%
TECNO Spark 7 front and back

The top 5 spots still belong to the same old suspects – Transsion (TECNO, itel, Infinix) Samsung, and Huawei. It is amazing that Huawei has stayed within that chart, considering what it has been through in recent times.

Outside the top 5 though, we have Xiaomi and OPPO fighting tooth-and-nail for territory at 4% market share each. There is still some ground for either of them to cover in order to pip Infinix for the 5th spot though, but they are pushing hard, considering that both of them barely existed in the top 10 two years ago.

Two old dogs, Apple and Nokia, and a newcomer (Realme) are slugging it out at the bottom of the top 10 list. Nokia was once at the number one spot in the African market. And while Apple is a popular brand, it has never made significant sales in Africa.

And as for Realme, a sub-brand of OPPO, it is interesting that they already are in the top 10 chart, considering that they are present in only a handful of African markets. Realme is not active in Nigeria, the continent’s largest phone market.

Which phones are selling the most in Africa?

According to Counterpoint, over 80% of Africa’s smartphone shipments in 2020 came from phones below the $200 price point. That is no surprise. The entry-level market is where the volume is on the continent, and accounts for why TECNO and itel have been so strong, and why Samsung, Xiaomi, OPPO, Apple, and other brands will have it tough getting to the number one spot.

There are not many sub-$200 phone models from those brands. Nokia is fairly strong in the sub-$200 phone segment, and one would expect the brand to be selling more than it currently does.

TECNO Camon 19

Which are the top 10 smartphone brands in Nigeria?

Thanks to the size of its market, the Nigerian smartphone space is usually reflective of what obtains in the continent as a whole. As such, it is expected that except for Realme, the top brands in Nigeria will follow the same pattern as the list above.

All the top 10 smartphone brands in Africa in 2020 make take up a cumulative 71% of the continent’s market share, leaving the remaining 29% to all the other brands selling on the continent. This “Others” group includes names like: LG, UMIDIGI, Gionee, Doogee, Afrione, ZTE, Partner Mobile, and Mara, among others.

2021 will definitely be interesting, as we have seen a catalogue of impressive smartphone releases. OPPO has launched the Reno5 and Reno5 F. HMD Global is currently pushing the Nokia 5.4. Samsung has launched the Samsung S21 series, as well as the A12, A32, and A52 models. Xiaomi has launched the Redmi Note 10 models. Infinix Hot 10i is already on sale. TECNO has hit the ground running with the Spark 7 series. And itel has the A37 on sale already.

The 2021 games are already well under way.


  1. Counterpoint (source)
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Avatar of Mister Mobility

By Mister Mobility

Tech blogging since 2003, I have owned and reviewed hundreds of smartphones running EPOC, Symbian, Palm, PocketPC, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.

6 thought on “The top 10 smartphone brands in Africa: TECNO becomes number 1”
  1. The difference and COME-BACK for tecno is different, and obviously they TRIED and covered different places with affordable smartphones

  2. their phones are cheaper and they give very good aftersales service, so its not surprising that TECNO are top

  3. I have been using Samsung and would like to change to a Techno. Which model should I buy. I live in Uganda and use my phone mostly.

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