In South Africa, Android has maintained its dominance over iOS, with most smartphone users in the country opting for Android devices.
According to data tracked by GlobalStats StatCounter, Google’s mobile operating system was running on 83.11% of smartphones in November 2023, a slight increase from its 82.43% share a year ago.
In contrast, Apple’s iOS accounted for only 16.59% of users, a slight decline from its 17.21% share in November 2022. These figures indicate that there are nearly five Android users for every iPhone user in South Africa.
While Android has been the market leader in South Africa for a long time, iOS has shown gradual gains in recent years. Previously, the market was more diverse, with various operating systems like Windows Phone, KaiOS, Nokia’s Symbian, BlackBerry, and others competing.
However, these contenders gradually exited the market as users increasingly favoured Apple and Google’s ecosystems.
The graph below from StatCounter illustrates the stability of South Africa’s smartphone operating system market between November 2022 and November 2023. It also highlights Apple’s recent decline in adoption, which could be attributed to the company’s lack of entry-level smartphone options.
According to Nielsen’s research, South Africans are known to be price-sensitive consumers. The Price of Promoting report in 2019 revealed that South Africa ranked as the second-most price-sensitive society in the world.
The subsequent State of the Retail Nation report in 2022 confirmed the same result, indicating that half of South Africans bought products on promotion and actively sought ways to reduce their shopping basket costs.
When it comes to smartphones, the Android ecosystem caters well to consumers with constrained budgets. There is a wide range of Android smartphones available at significantly lower prices compared to the most affordable new iPhone in South Africa.
For example, the iPhone 11, released in 2019, is currently the cheapest Apple smartphone available, priced at R9,499.
In contrast, there are many high-end midrange Android smartphones from manufacturers like Samsung, Nothing, and Xiaomi, which sell for the same price or even lower, ranging from R7,999 to R9,499.
Furthermore, there are numerous highly capable Android smartphones available for under R5,000 and even a handful for less than R3,000, providing consumers with more affordable options.